Matthew Bourne: piano, MemoryMoog; Andy Champion: electric bass; Joost Hendrickx: drums; Chris Sharkey: electric guitar

Recorded: 17th July 2021

In 2019 Bourne and improvising trio Shiver released volume 1 to which this is the successor. In between we have had the matter of Covid’s lockdowns and travel restrictions, which frustrated possibilities of an immediate follow-up. But the wait has been well worth it.

Shiver delight in the muddiness of the sounds that electric bass and guitar can make, building lines that merge, in slow-time, death metal and math-rock with dub-heavy funk to create rhythms that are often disorientating, and which are manipulated into even odder patterns through drumming that is less a matter of time-keeping than vocalisation. The recording on this album comes from day two of the reunion. Bourne, bouncing between piano and MemoryMoog, finds ways to deconstruct the trio’s music and create dialogues within the spaces that this creates. Taking such a well-established and tight trio as Shiver that has an identity and life of its own, and allowing this to be opened to insert a foreign body could have been risky. We know from volume 1 that the fusion was a joyful collaboration. On volume 2 the synergy has developed yet further.

There is an absence of boundary between the instruments and between the ideas that are improvised, so seamless is the blending of the four voices. The only track title that hints at the direction of the music is ‘Chromakode’, the opening track (although I have no idea what this might mean, I’m interpreting it as something to do with a set of rules to define the combination of colours). Beyond this, the other titles presumably say a lot to the group but not to the listener (‘Flight of the leather bird’, ‘Pasadena gravy’, ‘From ohio’, ‘Cactus and roulette’). Whatever the titles might, or might not, mean, the music is alive and squirms around a labyrinth of musical ideas, all of which grow, develop and resolve in completely satisfying ways. I for one hope that there was (or will be) a third day of recording to give us volume 3 as soon as possible.