Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2
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Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid
The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2

It seems that the second verse is the same as the first. It was just earlier this year that Domino Records released the first volume of Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid's excursions into improvisation jazz and electronics on The Exchange Session Vol. 1. The release was a mixed-bag effort of super extended jam pieces that seemed to lock in nicely in places, but completely lose it for extended periods of time as the two seemingly tried to find some common ground.

Those hoping for something different with the second volume of the release will find themselves a bit disappointed, as it's literally more of the same styled output, with Reid laying down the funky beats while Hebden twiddles lots of knobs and adds everything from warbly bass lines to shredded blasts of fried electronic circuits. It's not like they've honed in any more either, as their first effort ran three tracks and about thirty-six minutes while this newest effort has the same amount of tracks and runs nearly twenty minutes longer in total length.

"Hold Down The Rhythms, Hold Down The Machines" opens the release and at twenty minutes is the longest, starting out with some fluttering electronics and a locked-down beat before completely going mental about halfway through. The second half of the track finds the two locking together in places, while scrambling for bases at other times. "Noemie" follows and it's even more loose, starting out like some sort of rainforest pygmy music before going into spazz mode at the end.

Of the tracks, the closer of "We Dream Free" pulls off some of the best moments from both volumes as the two switch back and forth between low-end bass drops and pummeling drums and airy percussion with chimes. By the time it unspools, though, the duo has already played most of the cards in their deck, and even the build-up to the juicy bits sounds like one of many moments that have come before. Free jazz fiends and fans of the first volume will find plenty to love here. Others will probably want to stick to Hebden's work as Four Tet or Reid's recent Spirit Walk instead.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2006-06-08 20:25:54