The continuing presence of Chris Cutler in so many areas of musical activity is something to be welcomed and treasured. As well as releasing his own music, and that of his extensive network of collaborators and associates, through his ReR label, he has remained a committed live and studio performer. Live, his drumming is a wonder to behold. No other performer plays the drumkit as he does, his arms weaving dynamically about his equipment in a virtuoso display of controlled aggression. Yet Cutler’s primary impulse is towards self-effacement and collaboration, as is evidenced by countless group concerts and recordings.
A Mere Coincidence is the most recent of these, and a particularly fine example. Cutler’s aphoristic lyrics on aspects of scientific theory are given berserk settings by composer Stevan Tickmayer. The album is a succession of short, frenziedly inventive musical spasms, presided over by fierce guiding intelligence. Cutler’s old mucker Fred Frith contributes wild guitar riffs, while Tickmayer weighs in with demented keyboard pounding. Cutler himself agitates powerfully on drums and electronics.
Cutler’s texts are sung by Amy Denio, whose ethereal voice swoops and glides around the group’s formidably intense playing. Lurching shifts of sound and tempo create a confrontational, yet engrossing listening experience.
(Originally published in The Sound Projector 7, 2000)