D.Petts The Remote Viewers - Let The City Sleep - RV17

The Remote Viewers is the band of saxophonists David Petts and Adrian Northover and bassist John Edwards, this time supplemented by saxophonists Caroline Kraabel and Sue Lynch. John Edwards also takes care of the electronics, and you should definitely not underestimate that with this band, certainly not with the album they have made now, in times when distance is needed.

Normally David Petts comes up with a number of compositions, there are rehearsals and after a number of gigs the band starts recording. This time John Edwards went to work with the scores, arranged things differently, reworked and realized the pieces on virtual instruments, electronics and found sounds. For example, The Moviegoer was intended for four saxophones, marimba and piano, another song for saxophones, percussion, piano and bass, but now Edwards went completely loose, cut sections, changed tempo, rewritten parts and sounds were changed beyond recognition. Saxophone parts were played by vacuum cleaners and refrigerator sounds, a harp and car horns were used and eventually the musicians were also brought in. Well, catch up - Caroline's improvisation was recorded under a railway bridge, Adrian's in his secret stone bunker, Sue and John's in their respective living rooms, and David's in the Iklectik club.

And the result is astonishing but amazing, and David Petts claims that despite John Edwards' rigorous intervention, you can still hear very well what he wrote. See, I call that democratic and adventurous music. Music to make you very happy.


The artwork by Sue Lynch for the cover of Let The City Sleep (RV17) shows London irradiated and troubled by Covid-19. Some of the hardest hit, and as if dead by barbed wire, are musicians like those who have teamed up in the London Improvisers Orchestra for 22 years. In order to defy the adversity and to strengthen the cohesion, "We Stay Apart Because We Love Each Other. Love Is Stronger Than Greed." issued as a watchword. For "Sustaining the Music", the musicians condemned to social distancing delivered, well, of course, stop tones from home. Lynch came up with the concept for "Bubbles", Adrian Northover contributed, together with Philipp Wachsmann, "Midnight at Blackfriars" and "A Darkness Diary". Followed by "Chain Reactions" as a demonstration of creative chains of contagion, with Caroline Kraabel as the viral hotspot and driving force also for the virtual orchestrality in "Together Alone". THE REMOTE VIEWERS, to which Northover, from the newly objectively alienated art songs with Louise Petts to the sinister and paranoid thrillers of the noir phase, has been a member for as long as the LIO, created their current lullaby for London in a virtual way. From, as always, pieces composed by David Petts as well as separate files by Petts, Lynch, Kraabel and Northover on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones and by John Edwards on double bass. Except that this time the compositions were dismembered, twisted, manipulated by computer by Edwards and reshaped by sampling with sounds according to their own imagination, so that Petts' handwriting was disguised with noise and mixed up with car horns or player piano hammers. But in pseudo-saxophonic style and motor skills, she remains constructivistically present at the same time ('The Moviegoer'). Edwards mixes bell-playing poetry as a questionable guest with bubbly babbling and rumbling breakbeat ('The Guest'). He lets waves of noise cascade to fine tingling, cheap plastic melodies, chirping and twitching abbreviations, limping dingdong. The piano climaxed again to noisy vibra and xylophone. He dusts the sleeping city with fine pixels, murmured sounds and small glitches so that you can dance yourself to moody xylophones, tangled rubber and orchestral phantom strings. Vibe dabs with sustain, elegiac glass harmonica and theremin, electronic webs, animal sniffing remain a 'distant glimpse'. Lynch shreds that from the rusty sediment to the top step in the first of the five solo intermezzo with altissimo and honking sound jumps. Kraabel touts and moans under a bridge. Edwards knocks percussively and lets the bass body hum before he twangs the strings, saws tremolously and grinds the daxophone fluting or creaking and even pecks and strokes melodically. Northover contributes almost toneless breaths of air, popping, split, smoking sounds and circularly ventilated soprano waves. Petts ties in with Lynch with rough bumps and similar jumps. Until Edwards' last orchestral faults of strings, baritone saxophones, bells and growling bass mixed with fine noises, which increasingly trigger a cacophonous discomfort on 'Porch View'. Up to a foghorn call that one can only hope will be heard in time. [BA 108 rbd]


Recorded from June to August 2020 in different places during the pandemic on the basis of scores by David Petts and rearranged and reconfigured by John Edwards with virtual instruments, electronics and found sounds. Seven compositions alternate in the order of the 12 tracks of Let The City Sleep with five solos by each instrumentalist (Row 1 to 5): Sue Lynch on tenor sax, Caroline Kraabel on alto sax, John Edwards on double bass, Adrian Northover on sax soprano and David Petts on tenor sax. Each of his solos are recorded either in a "concrete" chamber, at the Iklectic, or under a railway passage. In what looks like sound assemblages, we hear fragments of keyboard, wind instruments, strings, conversations, deranged beats, aggregates of electronic sounds that follow one another with a beautiful dynamic or get lost in absurd curls. Subtle variations in timbre intersect with second-degree sonic gimmicks or rustles. Sue Lynch's tenor saxophone gets pinched, subtle, growling, pointed, dreamy, John Edwards' double bass curiously evokes his electronic assemblages and Caroline Kraabel's alto saxophone resonates the open space of the street. The City fell asleep due to teleworking, the virtual absence of tourists, and the musicians let her sleep. Without being able to come together to play and record together, musicians have no choice but to express themselves solo or to play together virtually via Zoom or direct Youtube. David Petts and John Edwards preferred to reconstruct the planned music virtually with electronic tools in a home studio and retain the acoustic expressiveness of each of the solo musicians. No pretense. What is quite astonishing is the faculty that these virtual versions have to embody the metrics, the quirky style and the character of the unclassifiable compositions of David Petts, the official composer of the group, compositions which give a unique aura to the Remote Viewers. , an unclassifiable group. Adrian Northover's remarkable circular breathing sequence on soprano, introducing a mysterious and spellbinding VR composition superbly performed with a haunted, atmospheric keyboard and ethereal electronic sounds. On the tenor sax, you immediately recognize the oblique style and manner of the composer, David Petts: every sound counts, every interval, every note length, everything has a meaning. The last composition, Porch View, is cleverly contrasted with successively reiterated and nested passages of string ensemble, horns, electronics, large organ vibrations, virtual wind tunnel - an intriguing work that will not surprise those who follow the Remote Viewers and will question others.
PubliƩ par Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg