Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid share a silent telepathy that draws strength from an intense exploration of each other's natural rhythmic tendencies. Tongues follows their marathon two-volume Exchange Sessions of free-form rhythm and noise in which electronics musician Hebden (Four Tet) and percussionist Reid (James Brown, Miles Davis) undergo a cultural, generational and stylistic collision.
This live session brings their discourse to a point sans any edits or overdubs. There are plenty of rough edges, however, in songs such as "Left Handed, Left Minded," where Reid's organic sensibilities tangle with Hebden's electronic textures. Monorhythmic drums in "Greensleeves" and "The Squid" are rife with human imperfections. Likewise, Hebden's noises are cold and psychedelic in their mechanical motions. Both are steadfast in a complimentary push-and-pull reminiscent of the classic John Coltrane/Elvin Jones dynamic circa "My Favorite Things." But Hebden and Reid carry it to the fringes of abstract communication. 4 stars.