På skive

MICHAEL FOSTER & BEN BENNETT

«In It»
ASTRAL SPIRITS

«In It» is the sophomore release of the American free jazz-underground duo of sax player Michael Foster, known from the Andrew Barker Trio, Weasel Walter Large Ensemble and New York Review of Cocksucking, and drummer Ben Bennett, following their self-produced, digital download-only 2015 debut «». «In It» still keeps the underground spirit and is published by the Texan label Astral Spirits as a limited-edition of 150 cassette tapes plus digital download.

«In It» was recorded during two days on May 2016 in Brooklyn. Foster and Bennett departure point is John Coltrane iconic sax and drums duets with drummer Rashied Ali (as captured on the «Interstellar Space», Impulse, 1974). There is a similar spiritual vein, especially on the ritualistic, folksy introduction. But later on Foster and Bennett emphasize that both sketch their own independent course and don’t subscribe only the American blues and jazz legacies, in their many incarnations, Both are willing to embraces rock and punk aesthetics and their improvisation strategies owe much to the European school of free-improvisation. Both sound as more inspired now by John Butcher and Mats Gustafsson or Han Bennink and Paul Lovens than the classic Coltrane-Ali duet.

The intimate yet stormy duet feature both Foster and Bennett all over their instruments, pushing themselves and their instruments sonic ranges into the most extreme terrains. Foster talks and shouts through the saxes mouthpieces and often uses his instruments as percussive instruments in addition to his strong rhythmic articulation while Bennett blows on his membranes as if there were reeds instruments. Both have developed such a close affinity that they can shift the level of intensity and energy within a second or instantly alternate between a muscular, roaring blow-out and an abstract, almost silent sonic searches. There is a sense of thematic development to Foster and Bennett performance as both communicate a kind of story full of hair-raising adventures and wild twists that demands a certain showmanship. No doubt, these two hard-working improvisers know how to keep their audience alert and attentive.

Eyal Hareuveni

Michael Foster (ts, ss, sopranino s, aerophones), Ben Bennett (dr, perc, membranophones).