“Motion” reviewed on Ears For Eyes

By Michael Holland, published 25th February 2014

The psychic communion of bassist John Edwards and Steve Noble has been commented on many a time, but here it reaches a level of near absurdity; ‘Betting On Now’, the first piece on this explosive slab of vinyl, has a section so completely locked-in that your brain tells you it must be rehearsed were it not for the staggering almost-chaos of its non-structure. This ably displays what makes N.E.W. not only an incredible band, but one of the best improvising groups currently in existence. They collide rock, free-jazz, and improv, in an atom-smashing tight-rope-in-a-hurricane high-energy power-trio; Alex Ward on guitar completing the ensemble. Their live performances are remarkable for their ferocity and fully-committed racket; however, they are never merely a noise splatter; they combine moments of stillness and light winding interplay with sections of careening downhill no-hands-on-the-wheel madness.

The recording of ‘Motion’ captures this all beautifully; you could be in the room with them. It ranges from the already mentioned punkish squall of ‘Betting On Now’ to the austere scraping gong-filled percussive miniature of ‘How It Is’; from the intricately unfolding rhythmic construction of ‘4th & Three’ to the head-smashing instrument destruction at the end of the title track.

N.E.W. are never less than an essential live proposition and ‘Motion’, as brilliant as previous releases ‘Newtoons’ and ‘Deadeye Tricksters’ are, is the album that captures them most accurately; the sort of music that, once heard, I couldn’t imagine not existing. ‘Motion’ is a wonderful document of a band that shouldn’t be taken for granted; see them again and again, and listen to this amazing album with the same attitude. Dancing Wayang has bottled lightning with this one.

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