Ballads? From these fellows? Well, "ballads" it is, as only McPhee and Brötzmann can render them - and "rend" them they do. These two sultans of skronk are a lot more subdued than usual, which means they still breathe more fire ‘n’ brimstone than any 12 sax-persons you can think of. Both men chase the ghosts of Albert Ayler and (late period) John Coltrane in their own forceful, inimitable fashion - plenty of sound and fury, but leavened by an almost eerie restraint. (In fact, there are 11 - count 'em, 11 - pieces on this disc, between three & 12 minutes in length.) At times their respective tones intertwine to create a "virtual" 3rd horn. There is an undertone of sadness to this set, perhaps owing to the dedications to the passing of three free bass giants: Peter Kowald, Fred Hopkins and Wilbur Morris. While this disc is unlikely to win many converts from avant-o-phobes, it’s actually a good entrance point for those folks who are recent converts to the free scene, especially if they’ve not yet heard either PB or JM. This is their first recorded meeting (they’d played live together before), and for devoted free jazz fans, it is/was well worth the wait.