Last Exit - Iron Path

SKU 05-ESP 4075
When Last Exit, a supergroup of musical avantists and trouble-makers first appeared in the mid 1980s, I can not begin to explain what a shock they were to the jazz and improvised music scene. Here were three well established jazz and improvisational figures (Peter Brotzmann, Sonny Sharrock and Ronald Shannon Jackson) playing with a 'rock' guy (Bill Laswell) and playing fucking LOUD.

Playing major festivals, bursting eardrums where ever they went and recording and releasing a number of live albums, the group wasn't destined to last long and they didn't last long. But in between all of this they recorded one studio album, a pioneering hybrid of abstract heavy metal, unsettling ambient music, and free improvisation which to my ears was by far the best recording they ever made and after decades of unavailability, here it is once more!

"All-star quartet Last Exit garnered its reputation with a string of unrelentingly forceful concert recordings in which it pushed the energy style of free jazz to its limits. When the group went into the studio, though, a very different sort of album emerged -- very different not only from all their other output, but even from anything else ever heard from anyone at that time. Because of that, when it was released in 1988, some fans and critics didn't know what to make of it. This was, in a way, understandable, because Iron Path was so far ahead of its time that perhaps only a quarter of a century later, in 2015, is there an audience prepared for this album's pioneering hybrid of abstract heavy metal, unsettling ambient music, and free improvisation. Back in 1988, "darkwave" hadn't yet been conceived, much less named and niched. The brutal sonic assault of Last Exit's live albums is not banished; it lurks below the surface on Iron Path, sometimes allowed to break through for a moment of stark contrast. But the unremitting density of texture heard in the quartet's shows is stripped back in favor of more subtle and varied textures, sculpting an atmosphere of moody brooding and sinister suspense. And, of course, the studio also allowed for far greater sonic clarity, putting these virtuoso players in a setting that shows off their masterful command of myriad timbres. In a world that has since become accustomed to hearing Earth, Pelican, Blut Aus Nord, Aphex Twin's Ambient Works sets, and Oöphoi, and artists such as Whote who explore the overlap between them, Iron Path can finally get its due, and an audience schooled to appreciate what it offers."
Sonny Sharrock, guitar
Peter Brötzmann, saxophone
Bill Laswell, bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums
  • LabelESP
  • UPC825481407526
Your Price $14.00
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