Illusion //

Album label: 
Release date: 
09/05/2012
Recording location: 
ecorded at the Whitehouse Studios, Essex,
Recording date: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
  • 1. Illusion 1 (04:33)
  • 2. Illusion 2 (01:46)
  • 3. Illusion 3 (06:21)
  • 4. Illusion 4 (06:48)
  • 5. Illusion 5 (05:17)
  • 6. Illusion 6 (02:39)
  • 7. Illusion 7 (08:07)
  • 8. Illusion 8 (02:21)
  • 9. Illusion 9 (04:58)
  • 10. Illusion 10 (04:54)
  • 11. Illusion 11 (05:49)
  • 12. Illusion 12 (07:49)

Jon Seagroat - ss, bcl, f, elec
Trevor Taylor - electronic & acoustic perc
Tim Chatzigiannis - laptop, electronics

Percussionist Trevor Taylor’s interest in electro-acoustic music goes back to the mid-nineties. Illusion develops that interest into what is Taylor’s most successful foray into the field to date. It begins slowly, taking its time with a few notes or sounds carrying perhaps more than their actual weight. By the fourth of these twelve tracks, a sense emerges of something more exploratory, still minimalist maybe, but also more penetrating and disruptive than that term implies. The credit for this seems to lie with John Seagroat whose soprano sax provokes Taylor into a more responsive mode, whilst Chatzigiannis’s electronics and real-time processing also come more to the fore.
Clearly, music such as this is concerned with texture but it also derives from free improvisation the possibility of movement. It need not just occupy the soundscape but can move through it. This is Seagroat’s contribution here. It is as if he tires of equilibrium and craves imbalance. His flute on the fifth and sixth tracks illustrates this perfectly, a strong, almost at times percussive tone matched by the increased involvement of his partners. Taylor’s percussion now becomes more forthright and even ominous and Chatzigiannis begins to draw out Koto-like melodies that contrast with the static or gurgling sounds that are the electronic musician’s stock-in-trade.
It is on track seven that Illusion goes beyond a mere combination of three musicians and becomes a group music based on dyads and triads of conversation. This reaches its best expression from the ninth track onwards. Whether it is the combination of Seagroat’s brooding, dark bass clarinet with Taylor’s percussion or how his flute joins with the church organ sounds of electronics, it is here thatIllusion becomes something quite special within the genre of electro-acoustic music. With track eleven Taylor’s percussion provides a stately pulse behind Seagroat’s clarinet over the echoes and distortions of electronic processing. The final cut fully realises my best hopes for this record as Seagroat’s soprano leads the way through the shifting electronic and percussive landscape provided by Chatzigiannis and Taylor. This is a thoughtful and at times quite outstanding piece of music-making.
Rec. February 2012.

Duncan Heining