Kieran Hebden The Exchange Session Volume 1 (with Steve Reid)

[Domino; 2006]

Styles: electronic jazz fusion
Others: Four Tet, DJ Spooky & Dave Lombardo, Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series

"We dream free." — Kieran Hebden, from liner notes

This is a unique meeting of two truly brilliant musical minds from different generations, with an even bigger gap than the Thirsty Ear-sponsored meeting between trip-hop/electronica producer DJ Spooky and '80s metal drummer Dave Lombardo. Most TMT readers probably recognize Kieran Hebden better as his "folktronica" guru pseudonym Four Tet, while you don't have to dig far to prove Steve's chops as a legendary drummer. He's sat on a stool for the likes of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Sun Ra, and many more... 'nuff said.

All three tracks, which make up a relatively short album at less than 37 minutes, are live takes. Being live required Hebden — who handled the samples and electronics — to work free of the apparent burden of computer-kept timing, in order to flow with Reid. This forced Hebden to embrace a groundbreaking level of electronic improvisation avoided by most producers in the world today, either due to fear, apathy, or lack of skill. James Brown continues to influence new genres decades after his last decent record, and in turn, The Exchange will probably influence people for generations to come. This CD is in itself a bold challenge to producers everywhere to step out from behind the laptop and explore the creative, spontaneous elements of live interaction. Regardless, knowing that part two is coming soon, it's not hard to feel a little teased after a few listenings of the first half-hour volume of session highlights. I'd prolly feel better about it if it was on vinyl... man, would that sound good.

1. Morning Prayer
2. Soul Oscillations
3. Electricity & Drum Will Change Your Mind

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