A recording of Derek Bailey's last UK appearance...
Martin Longley 2006-05-17
Guitarist Derek Bailey made his last UK appearance with saxophonist Tony Bevan's Bruise, playing at London's 291 Gallery in August 2004. In his final years, Bailey had settled in Barcelona, making trips to his old haunts much scarcer. Band member Ashley Wales (also of Spring Heel Jack) recorded the occasion, and Bevan has released the results on his own label.
Orphy Robinson is becoming increasingly interested in hardcore improvisation, but he and Wales are here for environmental sculpting reasons, with bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders the next in sonic line below the compulsively bullying Bevan and Bailey.
The three extended pieces are "Search", "Locate" and "Destroy", which was apparently Bailey's motto. Bevan specialises in the bass saxophone, a rarely-sighted beast, due to its unwieldy size. As the first section opens, he clacks antlers with the cranked-up Bailey. The venue has a uniquely industrial acoustic, and this informs the sonic texturing that ensues. The enlarged reverb imposes an exciting sense of loading-bay bleakness, creaking and groaning with a taut suspension of stark minimalism.