Album Reviews

Jim White & Marisa Anderson: The Quickening – “A new world atmosphere”

The drumming maestro and experimental guitarist team up to produce a startling set of songs.

Dirty Three and one half of Xylouris White, the legendary Jim White, teams up with American eternal drifter, Marisa Anderson, to give us their debut collaboration album, The Quickening.

Where White is concerned, superlatives such as ‘legendary’ may seem outlandish, but when you’re one of the best in the business and most certainly the most talented skins-man to derive from the land down under, then such terms are most certainly fitting in describing White and his unique free-jazz-inspired drumming.

Anderson has wandered through the marshlands of avant-garde, blues and folk music for many years, most recently with her trancelike 2018 offering, Cloud Corner, and alongside White it seems like the spirits have finally aligned.

With opening track, Gathering, White‘s radiant improvisation and spitfire drum rolls coupled with Anderson‘s electric blues-folk meanderings paint a picture of what we are in for here.

Unwritten is more of a contemplative piece with Anderson‘s ambient blues-laden guitars taking centre stage as White‘s subtle percussion work kisses off the tom-toms like pebbles skimming across a pond.

Diver, the album’s title track and Pallet run in seamless succession with cinematic sprawls of drunken beats and rich folk-laden guitars finding a mesmeric symmetry.

The Quickening‘s most beautiful juncture arrives at its end, in November. Anderson‘s finger-picking and White‘s off-kilter drum fills creating a luscious tone and a new-world atmosphere.

With The Quickening, White‘s hypnotic butcher-like slices from behind the drum-kit are a dizzying appendage to Anderson‘s spidery guitar contributions. Her melodies float like a dream, weaving in and out of White‘s rhythmic rumbles.

With ten tracks at just under forty minutes, with The Quickening White and Anderson stumble upon lovely pockets of space vacated by their previous musical endeavours. The pair have struck up a lovely partnership and it will be interesting where this project moves to from here.

The Quickening is out now via Thrill Jockey.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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