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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Kieran Hebden And Steve Reid

By Doug Merlino
Published September 28, 2007

Tongues
Domino Records

This is the third album of free improv released by electronic musician/guitarist Hebden, who also performs as Four Tet, and drummer Reid, who played on classic Motown recordings and with Miles Davis and Fela, among others. Instead of stretching out on extended songs as they did previously, the duo here offers ten tracks that clock in at around four to six minutes each. Reid lays downs beats while Hebden piles on bips, blaps, buzzes and beeps. The focus is on texture rather than development. At times the pair—who cite John Coltrane’s sessions with Rashied Ali as inspiration—lock into eye-opening juxtapositions, such as the hypnotic “Mirrors” and the frenetic “Superheroes.” Frequently, Hebden—limited by the lack of range of his old-school gadgets—seems to be throwing sounds at Reid’s drums and hoping for the best. Worthwhile for a few moments of quality interaction, but not triumphant as a whole.