Registered Firm HESSION / WILKINSON / FELL + MORRIS Registered Firm

[full press reviews]


"The top improvising group in the UK, with an international reputation for intense and powerful playing." MIDLAND ARTS CENTRE

"Explosive" Linton Chiswick TIME OUT

"Spontaneous music of a scorching and unrelenting intensity . . . . . conversational music of the most intuitive eloquence . . . . . unquenchable energy . . . . . There probably isn't such a thing as state-of-the-art free music, but as a term of convenient endearment, it's close enough." John Fordham THE GUARDIAN

"A punk/jazz racket, a rabid whirl of reed, sticks and string chaos. The Hession/Wilkinson/Fell trio are indeed very intense . . . . . playing wild and hard, their acoustic line-up sticks to a basic jazz instrumentation, but derails all expectations of what they should sound like. The Morris sound is very austere, concerned with every possible sound that can be coaxed from a set of strings." Martin Longley BIRMINGHAM POST

"Pottering about on the outer perimeters of improvisation, heard to excellent effect on a series of independent and obscure releases . . . . . they cover jazz structure, funk/rock disintegration, and cluttery stuttery baggage rattling. Fell approaches bebop, classical and death metal frontiers too . . . . . Connecticut guitarist Morris, on the other hand, comes across as an American folk equivalent to our own Derek Bailey. That's to say he scrapes, scrabbles, jags, stops, shimmies and patters over his strings in similar fashion . . . . . Compelling." BIRMINGHAM WHAT'S ON

"Guitarist Joe Morris is one of the few contemporary practitioners of the instrument to justify a reputation for radical contemporaneity. Like Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Bill Frisell and the late Sonny Sharrock, Morris has unique technique, unswerving single-mindedness and a deep-seated aversion to the kind of guitar schmaltz that gets played on TV commercials. Morris is therefore not the kind of player to fall into easy playing-relationships and his enthusiasm for the dynamic British free-improvising trio Hession/Wilkinson/Fell thus counts for a lot. A real one-off." John Fordham THE GUARDIAN

"Their interplay is absolutely explosive . . . . . blistering fingerwork from Joe Morris." Mark Russell MIXING IT, BBC RADIO 3

"Exemplary studio sound as England's most adept and creative trio encounter the nouveau-guitar wizard from Sharon, Massachusetts. The rhythm players dive into a bluesy, groovy mesh of bass/guitar twangs, tinder which Alan Wilkinson's vocalised sax fumes and ignites: Brötzmania with added humour and colouration. Joe Morris's notes fly like pips squeezed from an orange, his native lyricism stressed into steel by the surrounding tensions. Bows And Buttons closes with a savage baritone outburst that balances what's preceded with staggering aesthetic precision. A hilarious verbal exchange closes the disc, as the musicians bond over criticism's dead body. Living art, as we say in the morgue. A:1*" Ben Watson HIFI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW

"Joe Morris is an extremely useful supplement to the fearsome trio, and his style is earthed to a number of worthy contacts, including Derek Bailey himself. His babbling, short-stopped, vinegary guitar, dextrously creating contrapuntal effects, threads through the established interplay of the other three, thickening the weave or throwing shards of brightness into densely textured corners. Fell and Hession bowl along like a clump of tensile steel tumbleweed, drawing more tender species in its wake or bouncing impudently over obstacles. Throughout, Fell is powerfully rhythmic, yet takes good care of the harmonic grounding as the others swirl round him like gimlet eyed mariners round the vortex of some cosmic plughole. Altogether splendid stuff." Barry Witherden THE WIRE

"Well, now we've got three more names to add to the toilet paper roll; Alan Wilkinson, who could use Charles Gayle's towel and the sweat wouldn't smell any less sweet; Simon H. Fell, whose rippling, crippling bass lines could eat through your father's old Rickenbacker; and Paul Hession. Evan Parker's trio with Barry Guy and Paul Lytton may be the recipe that you turn to in your comparison cook-book, but these particular blokes put a few more pepper flakes into their brew. Wilkinson, in particular. comes across much more as a graduate of Albert Ayler's School of Arson than the Parker Institute of Processing. But at the same time the collectivist approach that's at the prostate of the EuroBritish improvising scene is present here; there's a few breaks for solos, but for the most part it's full-on, free- for-all, take-that-back-to-Bloomington playing And as an added Cracker Jack temporary tattoo, they're found here playing with American improviser Joe "Hi, I'm Jim Hall gone horribly wrong" Morris. He comes at the trio's music like a running back, weaving and dodging his way through saxsqueals and snareshots. But for all the confrontational nature of this music, today's word remains dialogue, as is the case for all great free music. At no time do the performers get in each other's way, but glide by as if coated in linoleum. Hession/Wilkinson/Fell: Because if your teeth got any whiter, the nerve endings would be exposed." Mike Zimbouski SIGNAL TO NOISE

"Each note played as if the musicians' lives depended on it." Ben Watson HIFI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW

"This 1996 coupling of Joe Morris with Paul Hession, Alan Wilkinson and Simon H. Fell was by no means obvious. But the common ground between them and Morris is far greater than their differences. All four come from a culture of listening and responding. Because of the trio's long familiarity with one another, they are more attuned and responsive to each other than to the guitarist. Quickfire exchanges between the three of them happen constantly. However, Morris finds plenty of space for his contributions. Listen to the way his guitar line (not quite rhythm, not quite solo) weaves in and around Wilkinson's sax on Bows and Buttons, vying for attention but also complementing and enhancing the sax, until at last it cuts loose into an all-out solo in its own right. An enthralling thirteen minutes. Admirers of the past work of Morris or the trio will find plenty here to get their teeth into. Overall, the sound and approach of the trio are dominant, but there is much here that is distinctly Morris. A successful collaboration for all parties." John Eyles RESONANCE

"A torrent of invention flows from this band. Wilkinson is an unreconstructed Trane and Brötzmann disciple, and his playing challenges the band to match his headlong pace. They're with him all the way." James Hale CODA

"Stressed by the tensions around him, Joe Morris' notes became ever faster and more brittle, as he tried to calibrate the music around him to the tempered scale. His lines became turbo-charged bebop solos or Conlon Nancarrow player-piano compositions transcribed for guitar: dazzling pips from a digital streamer. Registered Firm is a brilliant CD. Morris's guitar developed a quality - febrile, stinging, a kind of psycho-psychedelic digitatis - that he'd hinted at before, but never quite achieved. The record works like a stress-map of different musical methodologies: meeting, bruising each other, talking. Spaceships Are Crap, a skittering superfast fourway dialogue, has a mutual sense of rhythm that takes the breath away." Ben Watson SIGNAL TO NOISE

"As juicily violent as it should be. ***" THE PENGUIN GUIDE TO JAZZ ON CD

"You already know what to expect, don't you? These three crazy yobs, Paul Hession, Alan Wilkinson, and Simon H. Fell on drums, saxophones, and basses respectively, a trio responsible for much art terrorism these last ten years, winding up and delivering one burning skronk pitch after another at delighted festival goers and record listeners, as well as unsuspecting innocents who get slaughtered in the process. Add to this one of the premier improvising and composing guitarists whose influences range from Jimi Hendrix and Cecil Taylor to Wes Montgomery, Billy Bauer, and Olivier Messiaen, and what do you get - especially when it's issued by the Incus label? Not what you might think. To say that this disc is out is an understatement, of course, but it is so in a manner one might not expect. The infamous trio has a healthy respect for Morris' ability as a leader, it seems, and his inquiry into microtonalism - which is actually one of his pre-eminent concerns for the instrument's full articulation. Hence, on the longish Bow and Buttons, Morris leads the crew on a stripped-down investigation into the informational notation of timbral space and how it adds depth and dimension to propulsive dynamics. As it winds around a few different figures pulled out by Morris, at random, it seems, the work begins to build in intensity without leaving the realm of the phrase until there is nowhere else to go and tonally striated blowing becomes essential, making for a welcome and white-knuckle release. Elsewhere on The Delius Myth, Morris and Wilkinson take two or three of the composer's ideas about harmonics and put them to the test in improvisation, scoring them full of holes in the process. Finally, Piece of Fish is that all-out powerhouse freakout chaos that had been promised in the lineup's construction, and it does not disappoint. This is a well-paced, highly textured and constructed collaboration that tames the wildmen just enough to show how sharp their teeth really are." Thom Jurek ALL MUSIC GUIDE


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