on 11 September 2010
This is the disc for anyone approaching Bailey's work for the first time. There's a clue in the title as to why this is but on a practical level the pieces collected here range from 1971 to 1998.
Because Bailey was the player he was and because he devoted himself to the effectively infinite possibilities of free improvisation with a dedication few others could lay claim to the set doesn't unfold over time. Instead it offers an insight into his approach to the guitar and how he responded to the demands of the moment as he heard them.
Played as a solo on acoustic guitar `Tunnel Hearing' might be a heavily ironic title in view of this, but over the course of its seven minute duration Bailey develops ideas and discards them when they're usurped by others. The result is close to someone thinking aloud in an instrumental vocabulary.
As early as 1973 Bailey had it in him to take his instrument further out than any of the guitar shredders now working in the metal / noise area and `A Bit Of The Crust' proves it.
This was an area that Bailey was to work on for the rest of his life -indeed the two albums he cut in the company of the Japanese bass-drums duo Ruins are a summary of how far he took it, but then he was one of those rare figures for whom the only progress was in the forwards direction.