(what it is... and isn't)
it's not a headlong, full-tilt fast line extension or anything quite like it. i've sort of cleared that up already (for a very patient and ruminative reader!) - but i haven't said what it really is like, in terms of a braxtothonesque image... it reminds me of a large and undeniably possessed kitchen table, containing numerous fragile household objects and counterbalanced by six-to-eight legs of uneven length and a charmingly unpredictable degree of relative stability, attempting to negotiate its way as fast as possible down a cobbled hill. but in a good way! above all it's marilyn crispell's very own version of comp. 23f and of course comp. 40q - a descending spiral down a broken flight of stairs. and yes, this was one of a slew of pieces written especially for the pianist. gerry hemingway would already have been firmly in ownership of the drum chair, too. mark dresser would not, yet, have been anywhere near the picture. john lindberg was - in hindsight - getting ready to be dumped out of the band. [i still don't know why btw. not that it's a particularly pressing issue.]
anyway, the piece does rely on propulsive forward momentum, it's just that it's both continuously (broken accent time in the drums) and continually (bass) harrowed and interrupted momentum. joyous, really, in the event! (basically looks like a fairly happy table.) the piece does also really offer crispell plenty of chance to shine - and spring, and sparkle even amidst all the spikes and sparks being flung back up the busted-up terrain the group is traversing... and if this is how they want to open the album, i certainly don't have a quarrel with that at all. you see, this one is fine as it is, not quite reaching any transcendent realms but not being required to do so - it's an opener. it's a great opener! one knows (or hopes at least) that the richest meat will be elsewhere in the album. (and it is, there's just not as much as had been hoped for, perhaps.) and because it is reliant on forward speed and flexibility, who knows, maybe there was a conscious (or half-remembered) knowledge of dresser's having previous form on fast openers, playing with satoko fujii and making his bass leak smoke. after all, in case anyone saw the link i posted before and assumed that dresser sort of ended up playing on it, this is absolutely not the case. (*1) no, comp. 116 wasn't written with him in mind, but he was in the post for it, and all these other pieces. he really breathed fresh life into some of that material, probably. (*2) why not leap at the idea of rushing out of the gate with this piece, with this band?
speaking of comp. 40q... ahaha, i had to cut-and-paste out an image i came up with for that number, so long ago that i would now hate to have to admit it. 'cos of course that's coming up next, right? ahahahahahahahhhhhhhaahahh)
* see second comment