Guitar, Drums N’ Bass by Derek Bailey & DJ Ninj, Avant, 1996



I still remember the first time that I have listened to this record. It was 1996, one Tuesday evening, I was in radio. A friend arrives bringing the masterised copy (the cd was done by Avant, the Japanese recording label of John Zorn, in limited edition and at those times there were no Ebay, Amazon and was very difficult to buy in Italy these musics) and we listen to it, we were really anxious for this job. Why? Was it really possible that the great father of the English radical improvisation chose to play together with a DJ and on the rigid structures of the Drums N’Bass?

All true.
Bailey asked to the DJ Ninj to prepare some bases on which to freely improvise. Listening to this music at those times made me make a beautiful jump, it made me revenues in the mechanisms of Bailey, it made me fall in love of his forms of improvisation and it changed my opinion on the musical scene of the drums n’ bass pushing me deeper inside the matter.
Listening to it 15 years later doesn’t make the same effect anymore. It’s really impressive to understand how in this brief time the drums n’ bass is eclipsed, recycled, renewed, strengthened in other electronic derivations as the grime and the dubstep, but also understand the great sense of forcing warned in the notes of the guitar of Bailey. You can chose to improvise with or against another musician and in this case it seems really that Derek has chosen for the second possibility. Forced, channeled inside the frantic rhythmics elaborate already time before (in the 1995) from DJ Ninj Bailey seems not to have remained other possibility then to try to fringe, to wear out, to attack these beats that continue to play again indifferent to his/ injections of pure guitar sounds. It seems a wave that breaks itself against a rock-cliff. It seems an albatross that beats the wings trying to take off and to hover in air. I almost warn a sense of claustrophobia.
Or perhaps is it me that I’m 15 years older, with more malice and trained to this type of listening?

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