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Beck Hunters Has It Been Found?

Has It Been Found?
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Free improvisation is the realm of music ostensibly best equipped to ask questions. Its freedom from conventions of technique, meter and tonality allows it to question the nature and necessity of those conventions, while exploring the potential of limitless sound. Since its inception as a genre and movement, however, free improv has come to develop its own tropes and cliches. On Has It Been Found?, Beck Hunters satirise the genre's pretences towards lofty question-asking. The questions are cryptic and unanswerable ('What Is It?'), and the answers evasive and paradoxical ('Yes And No').

The record is [...] concerned with texture

The record is not without the amorphous skronk characteristic of many free improv records. Opener 'Yes And No' eventually devolves into roars of distorted guitar and atonal sax. But it seems more interested in using improv to augment more conventional ideas about melody and counterpoint, made possible by the group's near-telepathic synchronicity. At times, guitar, sax and drums come together in hocketing melodies or complex counter-rhythms that seem composed.

The record is also concerned with texture. Would-be side-long epic 'Guardians of The Truth' opens with a sparse and hushed improv, drawing the listener closer and bringing the fine details of its instrumentation - the movement of fingers, the breathy overtones - into focus. But as these details sharpen, the instruments somehow become more interchangeable: the clacks of saxophone keys and muted plucks of guitar could be mistaken for percussion; the sliding of a pick against guitar strings echoes the breathy whistles of sax.

Andrew Trayford

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