“Deviant Shakti” is a fantastic recording featuring two accomplished, venerable musicians performing at their improvisational height. Evans, a percussionist and Theremin player, has studied drums with Milford Graves, technique with Joe Morello, tabla with Misha Masud, kanjira with Ganesh Kumar and Hatian/Afro-Cuban hand-drumming with John Amira. His playing in tandem with LaDonna highlights many of these influences and is imbued with remarkable subtlety and technique. Smith has commented to me on several occasions her joy playing with percussionists, in particular Evans, and the rapport they exhibit on this recording shows off the ecstatic tendencies of her music.
Noted for her passion and virtuosity, Smith shines yet again on this release, and though I haven't had the opportunity to discuss with her the qualification 'deviant' in the title “Deviant Shakti,” always present in her performances and recordings is that primordial energy to which she alludes. For more of her take on her music and how it relates to her life, I did an interview with her for Perfect Sound Forever in 2003 which can be foundhere.
Her thoughts and outlook are as profound as the sounds she creates.
Together, these two artists draw on a mind-boggling sphere of influences, not only creating new idioms along the way, but displaying their love for musics around the globe, whether they be insects in the backyard or the flowing, flowering sounds of Bollywood . This love translates not into the gauche terminology “world music,” but rather into a new, contemporary sound, often paradoxically so in that it draws from many classical forms. It's no small feat and not an endeavor for anyone not seriously concerned with the directions of music for a shrinking Earth.
Davey Williams penned the liner notes, and within those he succinctly writes, “Meanwhile, two travelers follow different routes towards a single destination, which is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, a place that exists as an ever-changing motion, a flow of unified soundings calling to me with the dynamism of a forest.
I hear the back country of the constellations in this music, a rough and tumble fluidity, a barn dance with benign movie monsters of supreme elegance.
I go for a swim, bathed in this audible delight.”
Indeed, supreme elegance sums up in two words both the product and the musicians, here heard at what never seems to peak for them—each outing seems to go places unfathomable and unbelievable. With both elan and ferocity, Smith and Evans have captured (yet again) the direction of new music, mapped it and have projected the paths for their next sonic discovery. 10/10 -- P. Somniferum (16 December, 2009)