Johnson, Max Quartet – “Prisoner, The” – [NoBusiness Records]
stellar recordings of New York scenesters brought together by Max Johnson, a series of interpretive compositions of the British television series The Prisoner; beautifully executed with melodically minimal yet persuasive interactions amongst the players. Max mostly lurks in the background, with Maneri and Laubrock trading tones and phrasing and Fujiwara puncuating with virtuosic delicacy. throughout there’s this tense anticipation of harmonic release, everything gliding by grasping in a flicker to a quick thematic earful to pull at you then drifting off again. the last two tracks really kick with Max taking over and setting in some serious drive-power, heavy drop tempo changes and stylistic sampling. the change appreciated all the deeper when set against the preceding challenge of subtleties and silence. a lush layering of unobtrusive pieces with plenty of room to contemplate, this album deserves several listens to grasp its full effect.