Journalist Guy Peters imagines the free-improvised meeting of British reeds master Alan Wilkinson and Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries to action painting, «an arena in which to act – rather than as a space in which to reproduce, redesign, analyze or ‘express’ an object, actual or imagined». Likewise, according to Peters’ liner notes for «One in the Eye», the sound is abstract, so why not embrace it, and focus on the range of sounds, extended techniques, density, dynamics and the here and now.
«One in the Eye» is a double album. The first disc was recorded at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio in Anderlecht in Belgium in November 2019. The second disc was recorded live two months later during A New Wave Of Jazz festival at the Hundred Years Gallery in London in January 2020. Serries plays on both discs on acoustic guitars and this choice of instrument forced Wilkinson to adapt his sonic palette- on the bass clarinet, baritone and alto saxes, to the sonic spectrum of the guitar.
The pieces in the studio recording are urgent and dense, explore an array of extended techniques and different modes of energy and intensity, sometimes quite playful («In The Long Run») and at other times even abrasive, but all flow naturally and stress the immediate affinity between Wilkinson and Serries. «In The Here and Now» surprises with its lyrical melody and its quiet contemplative spirit and «The Stings Of The Flesh» relies totally on Wilisnson and Serries extended techniques and on «Pull The Other One» Wilkinson employs his voice (alongside the baritone sax) as an exotic and passionate instrument, matches beautifully by Serries’ rhythmic guitar playing. All these pieces are remarkably cohesive.
The two live improvisations are, as expected, are longer. Despite the time that has passed since the studio recording, these improvisations still highlight the immediate, organically flowing interplay. «HYG 1» is quite playful and rhythmic even in its most abstract and tense segments. «HYG 2» introduces first a mysterious vein when Serries explores Far-Eastern sonorities while Wilkinson suggests gentle, meditative lines, but soon Serries and Wilkinson settle again on loose and inventive rhythmic games.
Adventurous, insightful but highly engaging.
Alan Wilkinson (bcl, bs, as, v), Dirk Serries (g)