Letter to The Wire, October 2006

Thanks very much for the AMM Primer. A shame, however, that in an otherwise comprehensive survey, Philip Clark couldn’t find room for Evan Parker’s collaborations with Prévost (Most Materiall) and Rowe (Dark Rags), both of which are essential.

Clark signs off his article with the line “with AMM a duo again, the game is still afoot”, but sadly that was not the message I took home from their concert at the 2005 LMC Festival. Prévost didn’t have his full drum kit with him, and spent most of the evening morosely bowing a couple of cymbals. The trite inclusion of what sounded like sampled radio sounds seemed to be an acknowledgement of Rowe’s regrettable absence. Guest David Jackman brought little to proceedings, and for the first time at an AMM concert, I was bored. Perhaps, after 40 years, it is finally time to put the beast to sleep.

Returning to the subject of Parker, Brian Morton refers, in his review of Parker’s Topography of the Lungs, to the “much discussed falling out” between Parker and Derek Bailey. Strange, since although I have seen many references to this feud, I have never, in The Wire or anywhere else, read an account of exactly how, when and why the two men fell out. Far from being much discussed, this subject appears to be the elephant in the room of UK free improv.

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