Friday, November 16, 2007

track of the week: " f/b (e) electric," by derek bailey

Anyone who comes to this blog for the music should already know Derek Bailey (1930-2005), famous for his idiosyncratic approach to free-improvisation guitar. Bailey spent his entire life relentlessly developing and re-inventing this approach, but ask someone to define Bailey's "signature style," and they're likely to describe something fragmented, discontinuous, flinty, and angular, like say, for instance, this track ("M9") from his representative 1975 album Improvisation.

But the Bailey catalog is forty-odd years of documentation of an especially rich creative process: consequently, it's also full of oddities, left turns, and intriguing digressions. One of the most compelling of these, for my money, is the 2000 album String Theory, a suite of experiments exploring the potential of guitar feedback. This track, "F/B (E) Electric," explores the dynamics of long sustained tones as finely as any drone I've heard, and would fit sublimely on a playlist of stark minimalist electronica.

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