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Two of the last performances by the SME which then comprised John Stevens (percussion & pocket trumpet), Roger Smith (guitar) and John Butcher (soprano & tenor saxophones). A new direction for the music that was sadly terminated later that year (1994) by Stevens' untimely death. Added to this reissue are two short pieces from the previous year, when Neil Metcalfe (flute) was also in the group, and some perceptive comments by Stevens. Reissue of Acta CD 8 with extra material. 63 minutes. Reissue of Acta CD 8 with extra material. 63 minutes.
"Here's an extremely significant reissue from a label whose catalogue is full of important historical documents. Communication often seems telepathic, and Tape Delight presents a nice way into this unit's M.O. Stevens does not so much play as rustle, breathe and clatter, and his 'SME kit' of various percussion instruments is in full effect here, as is his pocket trumpet during several wonderfully droney passages. Smith and Butcher rewrite pages from Bailey's and Parker's respective books, having fully assimilated and transformed their genre-defining rhetoric. There are breathtaking moments of rapport, a two-note motive stated by one and immediately bandied back by the other, or a flowingly sustained Butcher tone complimented by Smith's rhythmically plucked exclamations. Stig presents these devices en mass and on a larger scale. Particularly noteworthy is Butcher's use of multiphonics, a technique he does not merely employ but transcends, sometimes getting four and five notes out in a single controlled utterance and at a prodigious rate.
This reissue adds more of his trademark observations, delivered in a disarmingly frank but lecturing manner. These give the music, some of the last SME recorded before Stevens' death in September of 1994, the philosophical support and clarity with which it was infused from its conception. It is clear that the bitterness Stevens expresses at 'the direction that society's gone in' did not dim the joy he derived from musical interaction. Joy and energy abound throughout the disc, sometimes peppered with moments of absurdity, such as the end of Stig where I'd swear his drum kit falls over. This is wonderful music and a fitting conclusion to a long and innovative legacy." Dan Warburton, The Wire