Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid
You'd think they couldn't be more different: one taps away at a laptop keyboard, the other blows a gale-force path through a teetering stack of acoustic drums and cymbals. But the two musicians, of different generations and different genres, find a striking common language in their ongoing series of collaborations. The two met through a mutual acquaintance from a Paris jazz venue. Hebden, a member of post-rockers Fridge but better known as the solo electronic musician Four Tet, had begun looking for ways to rekindle the spirit of unpredictability that characterized '70s free jazz; Reid, whose resume includes records and sessions with the likes of Miles Davis and Fela Kuti, was interested in revisiting electronic jazz fusions. With only two performances under their belt, they hit the studio in 2006 to lay down the two-part Exchange Session recordings; Tongues and NYC followed in 2007 and 2008. All of their recordings are bracing affairs, with Hebden's sampled instruments and shoe-in-a-dryer loops helping to structure Reid's rain of skins and bellsÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂor is it the other way around? In fact, one of the principal pleasures of the duo's recordings is never quite knowing who is doing what. With the fluidity of their exchange, you wonder if they sometimes don't feel the same way.