To The North reviews


The Wire
April 2011

The Remote Viewers emerged out of B Shops For The Poor and established a line in haunting avant swing. Now absent the voice and alto saxophone of Louise Petts, and minus much of the electronic soundscaping of the first few albums for Leo, the group now stands as a saxophone quartet-plus-rhythm, with Caroline Kraabel and Sue Lynch joining founders David Petts and Adrian Northover in the front line, with John Edwards and Mark Sanders (and a little marimba from Rosa Lynch-Northover) providing the grid references. The retro styling is still in place, and as ever to a 1930s that is already postmodern - the decade of Elizabeth Bowen (whose novel To The North is referenced on the mock-Penguin cover), JB Priestley, Rex Warner and Edward Upward. The music has a strange, spectral surge and ebb, anxious and indeterminate. It replicates a journey traced on a pre-war, sun-faded Ordnance Survey map, dotted with blanks and no-go areas, but super-rich in instrumental detail.

Brian Morton


Blending a saxophone choir plus a rhythm section has been a popular method of producing multiphonic textures ever since the Swing Era. Extending the interaction to encompass atonality and polyphony resulted when bands such as the World Saxophone Quartet and ROVA worked with rhythm sections. To the North is a notable examples of a European band adapting and altering the style. Veteran of Punk-Jazz aggregations such as B Shops for the Poor, Petts over the years has expanded and modified the initial all-saxophones Remote Viewers – always with his B Shops associate Adrian Northover along playing soprano saxophone – to now include one of British Improv’s most accomplished rhythm sections: bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders. Unlike Effecto Ludico, which flirts with sonic portraiture à la Ellington, To The North is more of a group effort, with fewer solos. Made up of seven asides and intermezzos the CD’s distinctive strengths are fully expressed by the ensemble itself, which also includes saxophonists Sue Lynch and Caroline Kraabel – the latter, like Edwards and Northover, a stalwart of the London Improvisers Orchestra – with Sanders and Rosa Lynch-Northover on marimba providing the unusual percussive textures.A similar expression of reed multiphonics is expressed on To The North with a band of four, rather than three woodwind players. Taken to its logical conclusion on a piece such as “The Memorial”, the stretched saxophone timbres accelerate to a crescendo of polyphonic reed smears and split tones. Associated accompaniment takes the form of drum pops, shakes and flams propelled by body English plus atonal bell clangs.
Earlier, with the echoes of rock beats and the hint of processed field recordings poking out among concentrated reed harmonies, distinctive solos arise more readily from Edwards’ walking or pressurized twangs and Sanders’ click-clacking drum beasts than from individual horn players. Only occasionally does a chorus of squeaky, diaphragm-vibrated timbres from Northover, some jagged R&B vamps from Petts, or slick, spittle-encrusted vibrations from Kraabel assert themselves. The concentrated reed harmonies on this CD are sympathetically arranged so that each timbral tincture is apparent, with little loss of spontaneity, creating a notable multi-woodwind-and rhythm document.

Ken Waxman

April 13, 2011



The Remote Viewers – To the North, What a difference a well deployed field recording can make. The Remote Viewers’ ninth album, To the North begins with what sounds like footsteps on gravel, an approach made on private land, a trespassing, intrusion or return home. It’s sufficient to throw the ensuing material off-kilter; what could be otherwise described as a comfortable and comforting tour through a variety of approaches to jazz derivatives becomes something slightly askew, exuding a slinky menace that insinuates itself further with each repeated listen.

Saxophonists David Petts (the Poison Cabinet, B-Shops for the Poor) and Adrian Northover’s (Dha, Happy End Big Band, B-Shops for the Poor and Sonicphonics) ensemble has seen multiple line-up changes over the years. For this release – their second without singer Louise Petts – they augment their sax quartet (rounded out by Sue Lynch and frequent Annie Lewandowski collaborator Caroline Kraabel) with the incomparable rhythm section of John Edwards on bass and Mark Sanders on drums. Much of the fun to be had on To the North comes from listening to these two playing it straight and sticking to grooves; even when locked down and metronomic Sanders remains colourful and supple, while Edwards’ playing hints at the near sacrilegious prospect that this most ubiquitous of free improvising bassists might get a kick out of playing Richard McGuire’s bassline to Liquid Liquid’s Cavern (famously sampled on Grandmaster Melle Mel’s classic “White Lines”).

All of which runs the risk of sounding like damnation with faint praise. Indeed, on the surface there’s little to recommend the latest Remote Viewers album. There’s no hook, no gimmick. The music playfully dips between composition and improvisation, always impeccably judged, conducted with a restrained poise and a keen awareness of the fine line between welcomingly familiar and coffee table anodyne. The recording is full, warm and rounded. It’s everything that should be detestable, with its spy movie vamping, sanded and polished surfaces and shameless, unrepentant tastefulness. Christ, it’s nearly an acid jazz record.
Yet somehow To the North transcends these unpromising ingredients unscathed. It might be to do with the stellar pedigree of its players; its lean economy of arrangement; its muscular swagger; the slight suggestion that Petts and Northover are sneering at those who take this music business just that little bit too seriously. It’s fun, infectious and catchy, with a sense of craft that makes it a pleasure to listen to. Just this once, that seems more than enough. I won’t make a habit of it.

-Seth Cooke-


The ongoing saga of The Remote Viewers entails personnel changes that are neatly fitted into a particular program or stream of consciousness. On To The North, saxophonists Adrian Northover and David Petts extend the band's distinct methodology via a four-sax attack, with marimba and a standard rhythm section. True to form, the musicians pursue off-kilter rhythmic underpinnings, extended note choruses and contrapuntal contrasts.
The group's identity partly resides within its penchant for executing staggered phrasings and semi-structured motifs atop groove-oriented pulses set down by British jazz/free jazz vets, bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders. The progressive jazz and expressionistic attributes are often intertwined with an uncanny sense of attainability.
The saxophonists often jab and spar, but it's largely a coordinated effort and not rigidly austere, but rooted in suspense and shrewdly crafted diversions. With some angst tossed in on occasion, the artists inject unorthodox treatments into the preponderance of these works. Marimbaist Rosa Lynch-Northover frequently takes the edge off, while adding a colorful tonality to the program. The soloists also morph a minimalist mindset during various theme-building jaunts.

"The High Place" is a quirky piece, having a cheery outlook and subtle dynamics atop a fractured pulse. Despite the septet's heady and unique mode of operations, the players intermittently generate an air of innocence. Challenging music is balanced with entertaining attributes, so it's a synchronized approach that encompasses the sax section's layered phrasings, overlaid with dissonant or foreboding vistas.

The closing "The Memorial" is a disfigured dirge, abetted by Sanders' cymbal swashes and the saxophonists' lower register portrayal of a solemn event. With a period of quietude in the bridge, the band conjures up an eerie proposition.

From its beginnings as a three-sax unit in 1997, The Remote Viewers has extended its reach and overall game plan. Northover and Petts prompt a seemingly limitless modus of expanding the original sound into larger frameworks. Cunning and strikingly distinct, The Remote Viewers is an entity that should not be overlooked.

All About Jazz


Sans Louise Petts mais avec Caroline Kraabel et Sue Lynch et en compagnie d'une rythmique de rêve (John Edwards, Mark Sanders), revoici les Remote Viewers. Et bien sûr, hors de question d'oublier David Petts et
Adrian Northover, indispensables saxophonistes du combo. Et saluons, par ailleurs, l'entrée de Rosa Lynch-Northover dans le groupe. Résumons : quatre saxophones, une contrebasse, une batterie et un marimba réunis pour l'enregistrement de To the North aux Eastcote Studios de Londres le 20 mai 2010. La veille, les Remote Veiwers comptaient peut-être deux membres et le lendemain, ils seront peut-être une trentaine. Car avec les Remote Viewers, il faut s'attendre à tout. Et surtout au meilleur. To Tlie North est à ce point emballant qu'il ne quitte plus ma platine CD depuis plusieurs jours. La première partie du disque active un groove binaire inhabituel chez les RV. Sur fond de riffs cuivrés et dissonants ; Caroline Kraabel en alto plissé et Adrian Northover en soprano étranglé illuminent Journey to the Border & The Lure of Heresy, les deux premières plages du CD.
Puis, au fil des autres pièces (toutes de la plume de David Petts), l'étrangeté des structures nous rappelle les précédents disques du groupe. Un archet crépusculaire (Tlie Mémorial), des riffs répétés jusqu'à l'obsession (AU Tlie Conspirators), un duo sensuel entre contrebasse et batterie (AU the Conspirator encore), des brouillages virulents et des harmonies soutenues par un strict marimba (To Tlie Nord) ; voici quelques-uns des (excellents !) ingrédients du nouveau disque des Remote Viewers.

Without Louise Petts but Kraabel Caroline and Sue Lynch and the company of a rhythmic dream (John Edwards, Mark Sanders), the Remote Viewers are back. And of course no question of forgetting and David Petts Adrian Northover, essential saxophonists of the combo. And welcome, otherwise, entry-Rosa Lynch Northover in the group. Summarize: four saxophones, bass, drums and marimba together for the recording of To the North to Eastcote Studios in London May 20, 2010. The day before, Remote Veiwers had perhaps two members and the next they may be about thirty. For with the Remote Viewers must expect anything. And above all the best. To tlie North is so exciting that he has not left my CD player for several days. The first part of the disc activates a groovy bit unusual in the appointment. Amid brassy riffs and dissonant; Carolina Kraabel viola pleated and Adrian Northover soprano strangled in illuminating Journey to the Border & The Lure of Heresy, the first two tracks on the CD. Then, over the other parts (all from the pen of David Petts), the strange structure reminds us of the previous records of the group. A bow twilight (tlie Memorial), riffs repeated obsessively (AU tlie Conspirators), a sensual duet between bass and drums (At The Conspirator yet), interference virulent and harmonies backed by a strict marimba (TB Tlie North), here are some of the (excellent!) ingredients of the new disc Remote Viewers.




After a long and fruitful transition, UK band The Remote Viewers have officially completed their transformation and stabilized their line-up. Since the departure of singer Louise Petts, the group has gone through several incarnations, following the fancy of David Petts’ writing. Things were already shaping up by Sinister Heights, but now with To The North The Remote Viewers have reformed as a live band. Surrounding saxophonist/composer David Petts are the saxes of Andrian Northover, Sue Lunch and Caroline Kraabel, back by John Edwards on doublebass, Mark Sanders on drums, and Rosa Lynch-Northover on marimba. To The North is a focused opus with a clearly defined artistic direction dominated by countrapuntal sax lines - Petts’ greatest compositional strenght – and complex rhythmics (gone are the beatboxes - Petts is now truly tapping the creative power of his human rhythm section). Listening to this album, The Remote Viewers’ ninth, I realize that I, as a fan, have also completed my transitional phase. To The North is a solid work on its own terms, a gripping universe, as gloomy, unique, and one of a kind as the early albums, yet different.

Francois Couture


Ho conosciuto David Petts. Una giacca troppo grande, un sorriso largo e sincero, la parlata lenta e misurata, uno sguardo curioso e sereno che accompagnava un viso spigoloso e vigile. Poi l'ho visto suonare su di un palco minuscolo e guidare un'improvvisazione irradiante asimmetria ed un sentimento atonale sapientemente sporcato da getti improvvisi di un free jazz obliquo che parte dal Peter Brötzmann di "Nipples" per arrivare, e non è per niente facile, al primo Eric Dolphy.
La musica dei Remote Viewers si è fatta notturna. Finiti i tempi di "Sinister Heights", in cui la pura avanguardia occupava il posto che è ora di un sentire dark (non "oscuro"; proprio noir, "velato"), è ora il momento di un timido tripudio di fioche luci cittadine, del cinismo urbano violato dagli squarci di reminiscenze visive particolarmente care a esponenti dell'avanguardia viscerale come Evan Parker. Un Parker che ritroviamo nel quartetto di sax (David Petts, Adrian Northover, Caroline Kraabel e Sue Lynch) che riesce nell'intento - a volte puramente utopico - di spaziare seguendo il proprio istinto senza uscire da un percorso segnato da un'estetica semplice nella forma ma estremamente complessa nella sostanza.
D'altronde se le sette tracce di "To The North" hanno un merito è proprio quello di non estraniarsi da un contesto comune, di non perdere di vista un arrangiamento asciutto e lineare a scapito di un'enfasi creativa sempre pericolosamente in agguato quando si esce dalla forma-canzone per entrare nell'avanguardia.
Per dirla con Brecht (a cui il combo inglese ha dedicato "The Minimum Programme Of Humanity: Sung Words By Bertolt Brecht" nel 2002): "perché le cose stanno come stanno che non resteranno come stanno". Ed è proprio questo il motivo per cui, forse inconsciamente, David Petts parla di album coerente col passato, con la ricerca filomusicale di lavori costantemente votati alla rottura di schemi immobili e onnipresenti anche nell'intricato universo avanguardista. "To The North" è invece, a suo modo, un'evoluzione: il corpo si espande (il terzetto diviene settetto) e la mente si apre liberandosi dalle tracce di elettronica del passato e rendendo più fluido lo scorrere del sonoro attraverso quel sentire logico ma complesso che è uno dei punti di forza dell'ultimo lavoro.
Una sezione ritmica di tutto rispetto vede John Edwards al basso e Mark Sanders alla batteria con in più Rosa Lynch-Northover alla marimba.
Viene da domandarsi se la musica dei Remote Viewers non sia pronta per dare voce al mezzo cinematografico e la risposta, scontata, riflette la palese inclinazione del settetto a un suono fortemente descrittivo, colorato la cui presenza timbrica illumina (o per meglio dire: dolcemente rabbuia) i vicoli di una città in costante evoluzione e doloroso conflitto con se stessa.


I met David Petts. A jacket is too large, wide and sincere smile, the speech slow and measured, a curious gaze and serene face that accompanied a sharp and alert. Then I saw him play on
a tiny stage and guide an improvisation and a feeling radiant asymmetry atonal wisely fouled by jets of a sudden free jazz oblique part of the Peter Brötzmann "Nipples" for arrive,
and it is not easy, the first Eric Dolphy.The music of Remote Viewers became night. Gone are the days of "Sinister Heights", in which the pure vanguard occupied the place which is now a dark feel (not "dark" just noir, "veiled"),it is now time to so a galaxy of dim street lights of urban cynicism violated by patches of visual memories particularly dear to exponents of the visceral as Evan Parker. Parker found that in a sax quartet (David Petts, Adrian Northover, Caroline Kraabel and Sue Lynch) that succeeds in - sometimes purely utopian - Follow your instinct to roam without leaving a path marked byaesthetics simple in form but very complex substance.Moreover, if the seven tracks of "To The North" have any merit it is to not alienate a common framework, not to lose sight of a linear arrangement and dry at the expense of an emphasis on creative always danger lurking when you exit the song format to enter in the vanguard.In the words of Brecht (to which English has dedicated combo "The Minimum Programme Of Humanity: Sung Words By Bertolt Brecht" in 2002): "why things are as they that will not remain as they are." Andthis is why, perhaps unconsciously, David talks about album Petts consistent with the past, with the search filomusicale works consistently voted to break patterns of buildings and pervasive also in the intricate world avant-garde. "To The North" is instead, in its way, an evolution: the body expands (the trio becomes a septet) and opens the mind free from the electronic traces of the past and smooth the passage of sound through that feeling but logical complex that is one of the strengths of the last job.A rhythm section to see everything from John Edwards on bass and Mark Sanders on drums plus-Rose Lynch Northover to the marimba.One may wonder whether the music of Remote Viewers is not ready to give voice to the film medium and the answer, granted, reflects the apparent inclination of the septet to a sound highly descriptive,those whose presence illuminates timbre (or better to say: gently darkens) the alleys of a city in constant evolution and painful conflict with itself.



Revue & Corrigée

Avec ce troisième opus paru sur leur propre label, la formation britannique réduit encore davantage sa voilure. A la fois par sa durée – on passe d'un quintuple CD puis d'un double CD à un seul CD – et par – et c'est une première depuis la naissance de la formation en 1997 – l'absence de sa composante électronique qui faisait souvent, tout au long de ses huit précédents enregistrements, son originalité. Mais l'équipage reste conséquent depuis 2007: le duo Adrian Northover, David Petts (depuis le départ de Louise Petts) confirme son ouverture vers d'autres musiciens et semblent se stabiliser autour d'un septet au sein duquel officient quatre saxophonistes et une section rythmique: l'ancien partenaire du duo de base au sein de B.Shops for the poor, le contrebassiste John Edwards, auquel se joignent le batteur Mark Sanders et Rosa-Lynch Northover au marimba. Le long partenariat de la conjonction entre saxophone et électronique a toutefois nourri un son particulier dans le travail du saxophone qui perdure ici, permettant d'identifier aisément le groupe mais aussi, sans doute, l'écriture de David Petts, seul compositeur de l'ensemble.

pierre durr


Sinister Heights
To the North

Avec le recul, Control Room, imposant coffret
de cinq CD paru en 2007 apparaît de moins en
moins comme l'oeuvre ultime et synthèse définitive
de THE REMOTE VIEWERS mais bien davantage
comme un énorme chantier de transition où
les anciens territoires explorés côtoient les nouveaux
champs de friche. Depuis, le combo, mené
par David PETTS, a perdu certains membres – à
commencer par Louise PETTS, dont le mystérieux
timbre de voix n'a pas été remplacé. Les amateurs
de ses chansons aux ambiances « thriller
noir » sont avertis que celles-ci appartiennent dorénavant
au passé. THE REMOTE VIEWERS s'est dorénavant
engagé dans une voie sans chant, mais
où les voix prédominantes restent les cuivres.
Il a fallu du temps aux REMOTE VIEWERS encore
en lice (Dave PETTS et Adrian NORTHOVER)
pour déblayer le chemin et recentrer son orientation.
C'est ainsi un double album, Sinister Heights,
qui a succédé au monumental mais difficilement digeste
Control Room, et comme ce dernier, il est
entièrement autoproduit. Sinister Heights se divise
en deux chapitres distincts : Time Flats et Mirror
Meanings, titrent respectivement le premier
et le second CD, qui sont numérotés CD 6 et
CD 7, histoire de les inscrire pleinement dans la
continuité des cinq CD qui formaient Control
Room. PETTS et NORTHOVER ont fait appel à une
kyrielle d'invités, tel John EDWARDS, Caroline
Cet opus double suit la voie tracée par les
trois premiers CD de Control Room. Les saxophones
alto, soprano, ténor et baryton, parfois
doublés, dominent les débats, mais ne sont plus
soutenus par ces réfrigérantes boîtes à rythmes.
Place à de vrais batteurs (Steve NOBLE, Phil
MARKS), voire à un xylophone et même à un ensemble
de percussions (EARDRUM) sur le CD 6.
Dans ce dernier, mélodies accessibles et constructions
contemporaines font bon ménage, tandis
que le CD 7 est un festival de saxophones chorusant
à qui mieux-mieux (on y trouve une pièce
pour six saxophones soprano). Ces cuivres francstireurs
tracent des mouvements circulaires, des
lignes aux mesures tortueuses et des contrepoints
contorsionnistes, menant au pinnacle cette
singulière écriture de forme libre lézardée de
brèches « improvisatoires » et qui n'hésite pas à
baguenauder vers une sorte de musique de
chambre aux horizons parfois électroniques. La
pulsation rythmique n'y est pas absente, puisque
de vigoureuses textures percussives apparaissent
dans The Crowd Accuses ainsi que dans No more
Adentures..., où résonne un groove milesdavisien.
Voilà en tout cas des « hauteurs sinistres » auxquelles
on ne hisse pas en une seule écoute, elles
se méritent, et on les conseillera en priorité aux
montagnards bien équipés. C'est sans doute au
cas où ces hauteurs feraient tourner la tête que
THE REMOTE VIEWERS a décidé dans son album
suivant de se diriger « vers le Nord » (To The
North), au cas où certains risquaient de le perdre.
Déjà, rien que le format indique que THE REMOTE
VIEWERS ont su contenir leur penchant
pour la gourmandise compositionnelle dans des
proportions plus digestes : To The North est en effet
un CD simple dont la durée est celle d'un LP
moyen (moins de 43 minutes). Et le groupe s'est
lui-même dorénavant soudé en un septet dans lequel
on retrouve certains des invités présents sur
Sinister Heights. David PETTS et Sue LYNCH se partagent
les saxophones ténor, tandis que Caroline
KRAABEL alterne les sax alto et baryton, le soprano
restant la propriété d'Adrian NORTHOVER. On
retrouve John EDWARDS à la contrebasse, et Rosa
LYNCH-NORTHOVER au marimba. Il n'y a plus un
gramme de programmations rythmiques (j'en entends
qui respirent avec soulagement...), et Mark
SANDERS a rejoint la compagnie à la batterie. Le
fait d'avoir un batteur attitré et régulier soude davantage
le son du groupe et lui donne une signature
plus lisible et stable.
Cette fois, c'est bien un groupe taillé pour la
scène qui s'exprime dans cet album aux compositions
(toutes signées par PETTS) qui fleurent bon
l'interprétation live, même si enregistré en studio.
Une fois encore, les contrepoints cuivrés
imposent leurs marques et leur poids, renvoyant
subrepticement quelque écho des débuts de HENRY
COW, voire de NATIONAL HEALTH. La section
rythmique formée par EDWARDS, SANDERS et
LYNCH-NORTHOVER répond avec assurance et sagacité
aux gymnastiques dissonantes des sax,
mais leur laissent aussi le loisir de partir en solo
free, notamment lors de l'épique Saturation Bombing,
qui se déploie comme un long planséquence.
Mais la présence de ces marimbas,
fûts, cymbales et contrebasse aèrent et éclairent
indéniablement les contondants paysages dessinés
par les soufflants, leur retirant ainsi un peu
de cette noirceur cinématographique qui caractérisaient
les opus antérieurs des REMOTE VIEWERS.
Néanmoins, la dimension « bande-son
pour film restant à imaginer » reste présente au
moins par l'introduction de bruitages dans Journey
to the Border et All the Conspirators.
Par bien des aspects, To the North semble sonner
le glas de la période « transitoire » des REMOTE
VIEWERS. Le groupe a achevé sa mue, et il
ne dépend que de chacun de faire son deuil de
l'ancien temps et de se familiariser avec ses nouvelles
mouture et direction, qui promettent de
belles réjouissances à l'amateur d'horizons intellectuels
et sonores escarpés et grisants tout à la



Composé d’un quatuor de saxophones, d’une contrebasse, d’un marimba et d’une batterie, The Remote Viewers, pour l’occasion septet, s’annonce d’emblée comme une formation des plus intrigantes ! Avec ce huitième album – ce qui n’est pas rien –, ces Américains conduits par David Petts, compositeur du groupe, voguent entre des sonorités jazz rétro et Canterbury sophistiqué.

Les ombres d’Henry Cow et de National Health pèsent sur une partie des compositions tandis que l’improvisation régit sans équivoque l’autre partie des morceaux, et parfois le groupe réunit les deux démarches en une, comme sur le long et cinématographique « Saturation Bombing », où le suspense fait place à la surprise et l’interrogation. Les harmonies jouées par les saxophones suscitent la ferveur comme ces lignes mélodiques atypiques proches de la musique contemporaine.

On ne pourra cependant pas voir dans la musique de The Remote Viewers autre chose qu’une expérience musicale riche, parfois décousue mais pourtant bien ficelée. Certains « cris de canards » à la John Zorn hérissent le poil, tout comme les passages où l’impression d’improvisation ratée prend trop de place. To the North semble être enregistré en une prise directe unique, exercice de style censé amener chaleur, énergie et immédiateté au propos.

L’auditeur sera ainsi partagé entre l’effet d’écriture précise et sophistiquée de compositions telles que « Journey to the Border » et l’étrange passivité voire la sombre nonchalance de « The Memorial ». Peu évident au premier abord, mais à tenter pour la découverte, la beauté du geste et cet expressionnisme artistiquement intellectuel. fin


Composed of a quartet of saxophones, a bass, a marimba and drums, The Remote Viewers, for the occasion septet, promises to be as intrinsically the most intriguing! With this eighth album - which is not nothing - the Americans led by David Petts, composer of the group, move between retro jazz sounds sophisticated and Canterbury.

The shadows of Henry Cow and National Health hanging over some of the compositions while improvisation governs unequivocally part of the other pieces, and sometimes group together the two approaches into one, as long movie and "Saturation bombing ", where the suspense gives way to the surprise and interrogation. The harmonies played by the saxophones arouse fervor as these atypical melodic lines near contemporary music.

We can not however see in the music of The Remote Viewers anything but a rich musical experience, sometimes disjointed but still well put together. Some "cries of ducks" on John Zorn bristling hair, like the passages where the impression of improvisation missed takes too much space. To the North appears to be saved in a direct unique styling exercise meant to bring warmth, energy and immediacy to the topic.

The auditor will be shared between the effect and write accurate and sophisticated compositions like "Journey to the Border" and the strange passivity or even dark nonchalance of "The Memorial". Little obvious at first, but to try to discover the beauty of this gesture and intellectual artistic expressionism. end

Aleksandr Lézy



Nach Nord, in gefühlte Kälte und Dunkelheit, aber wohl auch ins Freie, ins Befreite, geht es. Und unruhig, unbeirrt spitzen The Remote Viewers um David Petts und Adrian Northover ihr Projekt noch einmal zu. Saxofone, Bass und Schlagzeug sind dabei, wer aber deswegen etwas umstandsloseren Jazz erwartet, liegt hier falsch. To the North ist, im Gegensatz zu seinen ausufernden Vorgängern, kurz und knapp geraten, gefüllt von enervierter Energie und gelegentlichen Einbrüchen verspielter talking drums (Rosa Lynch-Northover: Marimba). Der durchgehende Schlagzeugeinsatz, erprobt beim Vorgänger Sinister Heights, zählt zu den Charakteristika dieses Albums. Dafür fehlen die vordem oft prägenden electronics.

Ein musikalischer film noir ist es mal wieder, der hier vor den Ohren abläuft, und anders als in schwarz-weiss ist er gar nicht vorstellbar. Überschriften wie The Lure Of Heresy, Saturation Bombing oder All The Conspirators vermitteln etwas von der Bedrängtheit, die sich im dichten Geflecht der Saxofonstimmen äussert. Nur die Rhythmussektion lässt etwas freier atmen. Ein wohliges Klangbad wird indes nie daraus und ist bei der konsequenten Haltung von David Petts auch nicht zu erwarten. FreundInnen klanglicher und rhythmischer Finessen kommen aber auf ihre Kosten.

Pure, klare Musik ist auf dem Album zu finden, die zu grossen Ausbrüchen ebenso fähig ist wie zu klaustrophobischen Erkundungen im Bereich reduzierter Klangräume. Spannung und Stockung im Spiel der hier vier Saxofone gehören zu den Kompositionsmitteln David Petts, die sich hier wieder bewähren. Die Aufnahmen entstanden live bei einer einzigen Studiosession. Abermals aber beschwört die Musik eine Atmosphäre von Bedrängnis und Anspannung, Nervosität und Beklemmung, getragen vorwiegend von den gleissenden Linien der Saxophone und unterstützt vom eindrücklichen Bass John Edwards. Free & easy wäre auf dem Kompass so ziemlich der Gegenpol des Nordens, zu dem sich die Remote Viewers hier auf den windungsreichen Weg machen. Unbeteiligt oder ungerührt wirken sie dabei nicht.

Anspieltipps: Journey To the Border, Saturation Bombing, All The Conspirators, To The North

Hans Plesch für ZORES auf Radio Z, 1.2.2011