DIKEMAN/LISLE/SERRIES/WEBSTER – Live At Cafe OTO (CD, Raw Tonk Records)
“Live at Café Oto is another lively racket, this time pitting John Dikeman’s tenor against Webster’s baritone gurgle, Dirk Serries’ white-hot guitar fuzz and Andrew Lisle’s clattering row. It’s by far the most ‘jazz’ of the records under review here, although by ‘jazz’ I mean the freest, most far out grooves you could hope to wander across.
Dikeman’s Coltrane-in-Ethiopia cry at the start sets the tone for what follows, and his tenor gives the quartet’s two-horn attack a punchy sound that contrasts with gluey scuff of Night Streets of Madness and the stretched dronescapes of Bleed. As is usual with Webster, the overall tone is egalitarian, with all four players surging forward, the assault of their individual sonics knotting together like some horde of berserkers charging over the hill.
I’m always a sucker for the moodier sequences of pieces like this, however, and there’s a fantastic long stretch in the second half where the quartet deconstruct their own playing, breaking their yowls and scratches down into their molecular elements, before building them back up again in discreet chunks of flutter and crash. At around 18:00 things get kind of shadowy and beautiful, various moans and rustles turning into a sax duet, Webster’s baritone blasting out pitted bass tones as Dikeman’s horn bellows over the top.
Serries’ guitar, meanwhile, lurks around the edges, its abstract clouds thickening the sound palette and occasionally creeping into the spaces left by the other three, like some ghostly vapour seeping underneath the door. At about 14:00, however, he lets rip with a series of fuzzy blasts that take things, momentarily, into some weird digital-metal arena. Even better, his riffs are accompanied by grunted vocal yelps, as if James Brown were urging Tony Iommi to take it to an incredibly heavy wrought iron bridge. Whether that’s Serries himself venting or one of his colleagues encouraging him, I don’t know. But it’s a thrilling a moment in a high-octane performance. Tough and uncompromising” We Need No Swords – UK