JJ 11/83: Evan Parker – Circadian Rhythm

Forty years ago Barry McRae wasn't sure Circadian Rhythm was music and in any case the intonation of the fire and smoke was suspect. First published in Jazz Journal November 1983


Without wishing to get embroiled in semantics, there must be a stage at which music can no longer be used as a description of certain sounds.

To take my stand, I would say that lengthy passages of this album are about sounds rather than music in the orthodox sense. In practice, they are assembled rather well, the ele­ment of chance inherent in the elec­tronics is restrained and all of the players seem concerned with rela­ting to each other. At times, either by luck or good judgement, the overall polyphony becomes quite harmonious and one could almost classify the result as a futuristic tone poem.

Having said this, and con­firmed that nothing wildly offensive occurs, it must be concluded that little that is aesthetically satisfying occurs either and that, in the final analysis, it is something of a dissipa­tion of the talent of men like Parker, Lytton and Lovens.

As a closing thought, I would draw attention to the fact that amongst the instru­ments played by Annabel Nicolson are fire and smoke. I would suggest that her intonation on both is suspect.

Circadian Rhythm – Excerpt 2; Ex­cerpt 3 (19.45) – Circadian Rhythm – Excerpt 1 (22.45)
Evan Parker (ts/ss); David Toop (f/rec/pic/misc.instruments); Hugh Davies (electronics); Paul Lovens (pc/saw); Paul Lytton (pc/electronics); Max Eastley (misc. instru­ments); Annabel Nicolson (conflagration ef­fects!); Paul Burwell (pc). London 29-30/7/78.
(Incus 33)