I don’t know if I could provide any kind of precise definition for the terms ‘skronk’ or ‘skree’ that might help a listener unfamiliar with contemporary improvisation understand the sound. But those jazz fans for whom the terms are both familiar and interest-piquing will want to take note that there’s a heck of a lot of both going on in this live set from British saxophonist John Butcher, German bassist Torsten Muller (who now calls Vancouver home), and percussionist Dylan van der Schyff.
Vancouver is the Canadian - if not North American - nexus for free improvisation these days and regularly plays host to world-class collaborations between Canada’s finest players and renowned musicians from around the globe - names like Mark Dresser, Matthew Bourne, Evan Parkers and countless others. Way Out Northwest is the product of one such collaboration.
Aside from the aforementioned skronk and skree there’s also a fair bit of twiddling, fiddling, unforgivable instrument abuse, extended technique grandstanding and just pure fire. Beautiful record that will cleanse the aural palate not unlike the esoteric excitations of Harry Oldfield’s Crystal.
Like I said, I couldn’t define the terms some use to describe this sound but the truth is that if you aren’t already familiar than this music will probably sound like hell to you. But for those i the know, this is great stuff.