Let's wind back a bit. I've been following ASK since, well, the beginning; since the core duo of Martin Archer and John Jasnoch (I always want to call him Wire Assembly's John Jasnoch, but it's about time I recognised that Wire Assembly split 20 years ago now, and there may not be more than 20 people who could name all three members) started playing around Sheffield. I'm guessing that was 1996 or '97.
This is their second album, recorded between 2002 and 2004, and sees the two principals augmented by between one and five extra players on different tracks — most commonly Rob Dainton on drums. I like Rob's playing, and though the CD can't convey this, he's great to watch live.
So I thought I knew ASK and what to expect from them, but this CD goes beyond those expectations in so many different directions, all of them good. I really need to listen to it a lot more before I could say anything intelligent about it. Better that I should just direct you to the intelligent reviews. I can definitely hear Martin Archer's Mike Ratledge fixation, as mentioned in one of those reviews. And I've rarely heard these guys swing as enjoyably as they do on Song for Roscoe Mitchell.
This was one of three releases I got from Discus in March 2006 (Archer's Ten Studies for Organ was another of the three). It's always best to buy in threes because once you've got two releases for £10 each, the third one comes for only £1. By happy coincidence, my latest batch of three arrived just last week, and included ASK's most recent album, so I was able to compare. More about that release another time but I will just say that it's not as good as this one.
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