I was only dimly aware of the free-jazz and avant rock-orientated duo of saxophonist Colin Webster and drummer Mark Holub, here with their third album, I’m ashamed to say, before Viscera turned up, although I know Webster’s extremely different work independent of Holub with poet Anthony Joseph’s dubby Spasm band, and Holub from the mighty Led Bib. Largely free improv their album together here also includes a version of Roscoe Mitchell’s ‘Chant’ towards the end.
Viscera strongly leans towards the splutteringly guttural end of free jazz which can be very cathartic and certainly is here, Webster grabbing you by the scruff of the neck like Mats Gustafsson does relentlessly inside The Thing. On opener ‘Big Paws on a Puppy’, following the Albert Ayler rulebook to the letter, Webster can be very compelling. Holub too has his epic moments, quite often a multi-directional drummer in the Rashied Ali mould and I suppose you could, in its more spiritual moments, although there aren’t many of these granted as it’s more an out-and-out duel, see this as a latterday Interstellar Space. Recorded in a single day Webster making use of alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, it’s music of the moment, earthy and spirited for the mind and body, where as a listener you’ve just got to let yourself go. Unless you have a pathological dislike for the skronky thide of sings there’s a good deal to enjoy. SG
Released on 14 October