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Dirk Serries & George Hadow - Chapel [Creative Sources - 2021]

Chapel is an example of eventful and creative improv, bringing together Belgium guitarist Dirk Serries and British drummer George Hadow for a forty-nine-minute live set. The release appeared in October of last year on Creative Sources, as either a CD or digital release- I’m reviewing the former.

The CD comes presented in glossy monochrome four-panel gatefold- this features a selection of pictures that look like either close-ups of cracked dirty ice, or darkly grazed & crackled walls. The whole thing is finished off with minimal black and white text, so a suitable stark and low-key looking bit of packaging. This CD release comes in an edition of two hundred copies- and can be purchased here

The live recording featured here is from September last year, where the pair played at Groels Kapel -in Bocholt, Belgium. It was recorded and mastered by Serries, for punchy & balanced recording pick up both instruments in a clear and even manner.

The set kicks off with rapid and dense mix of guitar and percussion- we have the tightly strumming, scrubbing, and jagged sliding guitar of Serries, which hints at demented takes on blues, off-key funk, and manic jiving. And taping, darting,  crashing and smashing kit runs of Hadow. At around the six-minute mark we seem to pare back somewhat for reverbed strikes, and sliding neck swoon- and for a short, while it’s just Hadow- but this doesn’t last for long as we find fairly soon manic scrubs, saws and at times quite jarring higher pitch picks and scrabble from Serries. At the twelve-minute mark, the whole thing draws to a stop, with fairly soon just Serries appearing with at first light gestures, then soon more forking tones- this is joined by a selection of mood bashes,  and hazes of cymbal- with later on more strutting and darting angularity come into play on the guitar, as Hadow cleverly and rewardingly darts around his kit.  As we move on the pair nicely shift and move, going from dense and manic, to more stark set dwells, onto blends of both. On the whole, the set is an eventful and rewarding affair, with the pair both highlighting interventive flare and quick sonic thinking in their interaction.

I’d say you’ll be needing to enjoy the energetic, manic and noise  bound/ no-harmony side of improv to really tune into and enjoy what’s going on here, but for my money, it’s a nicely invigorating release that really gets one head nicely spinning

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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