Realtime - In The Shaman's Pocket

Julian Cowley, The Wire

There's no metronome in the shaman's pocket. Drummer Ken Hyder has no time in his music for frigid mechanical measures. His playing explores how persistent energy can flow vividly through transient forms, informed by early study with John Stevens, intense listening to Coltrane and Ayler and his own first hand research well off the beaten track-notably over the course of the past 18 years among rural people in Siberia.

In the improvising quartet RealTime, Hyder is joined by percussionist z'ev, trumpeter Andy Knight and bassist Scipio.
In The Shaman's Pocket is a single track lasting a little over 42 minutes. Hyder recognises the fortuitous Tightness for listening of vinyl time; CDs have tended to be overlong players, dissipating attention and encouraging slack content. This is not an incidental observation. These days Hyder's music is not only about sound, but also about our physical, emotional and psychic experience of time.

Within the involving rhythm of this piece there are strange changes of tempo -unpredictable acceleration, unexpected slowing down, firm strides that veer irregularly into an intoxicated reel, z'ev operates on wavelengths close to Hyder's own, fracturing pattern without sacrificing drive.
Scipio, currently bassist with Tuvan rock group Yat Kha, contributes eccentrically loping off-kilter funk. Knight's blowing weaves through the cross rhythms, unforced and communicative, a distinctly vocal complement to Hyder's idiosyncratic wordless singing.

The music's pulse carries you along, but the way accents fall is often disorientating. It's music that's readily approachable, but at a slant, from unaccustomed angles. A combination of pleasure and disclosure that touches the core of what it means to improvise.

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