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Improvijazzation Nation 

Issue # 52 REVIEWS


49 Nord - ANIMAL LANGUAGE:  This CD represents a totally new listen for us... some of the densest & thickest improv we've ever heard, from Copenhagen.  A live recording at the "Jazzhouse" there, this is one of the finest sessions I've ever heard.  The trio features guitars/percussion by Hasse Poulsen, tenor by Bertrand Denzler & drums/percssion from Christophe Marguer.  HEAVY power movements, guitar & percussives at the fore, with the sax furnishing the more "intimate" touches.  There is some purely raw energy that one doesn't often find on live-recorded improv gigs anymore.  I was particularly impressed with the guitar work, but all three players are RIGHT IN TOUCH with the spirit of creativity!  This is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & (in fact) gets the "PICK" of this issue for "best improvised music".  Contact at Unit Records, POB 53, ch-1789, Lugnorre, on the site at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Dan Susnara - ONE HANGDOG JUNEY MOON AT BHAGDAVAGITA RITA'S:  This is a tape, folks.  In from our collaborating friend Dan Susnara, over Chi-town way.  It has some names that you long-time readers will remember (from th' heyday of home taping)... Ken Clinger, Greg Stomberg, K.D. Schmitz & (even) Don Campau.  There are some simply beautiful mixes on these trax!  Th' tape has about th' most psychedelic sound I've heard since th' banana peels we used ta' smoke.  Intricate compositions that will twist yer' head around to th' point where it will take a THOUSAND priests (& a junkyard winch) to get it back into shape!  Dan has become a master at weaving vocals in that keep the listener on th' "edge".  Some absolutely fine synth-works, & nice echo-vox that pan back & fro... this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  You haven't heard music like this before... highly original & ultimately creative.  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

John Balint - PARADISE WITHIN:  This highly creative and involved CD will turn your ears around.  Title alone may have you thinking that it's (just) another piece of "new age" trivia - but it delves much deeper than that, & you will find it enchanting from the opening bar!  Yes, it is "meditative", and Balint does use (some) traditional keyboard forms... but his skill at weaving haunting little instrumental and vocal enchantments through the mix is apparent immediately.  He is also very sensitive to "playing for the moment", and though these are composed pieces, I have no doubt (from listening through & through the album) that the majority of these are first takes.  Is it jazz?  Rather sorta' leans that way, but there are so many other influences that you couldn't pigeonhole it that strictly.  Is it contemporary?  Well, it's very accessible, so I suppose you would put a big + sign as your answer.  What it really is - highly original and creative music that merits (without a moment's hesitation) our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating.  This will be in th' Zzaj-racks for many years to come!  Contact at 6 Saint Francis Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, via email to  or on the site, at   Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Halley - COYOTES IN THE CITY:  The trio on this CD is some of the best spontaneous jazz you'll ever hear - bar none!  Rich's tenor/alto sax & flute represent unbounded energy & Clyde Reed's bass is rapid-fire lightning, but crystal clear on each & every note!  Drummer Dave Storrs percussion is flawless & the ultimate in punctual!  The session was recorded the day after a live gig, but the energy & musical communication remain high & clear, respectively.  My favorite track is the opener, "Green, Brown & Blue", probably because it sounds totally improvised, but seems to carry the highest level of energy on the album!  When players are able to achieve this level of instinct in their playing, & keep the vibe going, listeners are in for a treat.  GREAT recording, too!  For those who love rampant reeds, explosive percussion & full-bodied bass, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Contact at Louie Records (which has Mr. Storrs at the helm, actually), 644 SW 5th St.,  Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

ONOFFON - YOUR MIND:  We (apparently) had this CD in thee bin quite some years back (along with their other production, "Surrender Now", which did get reviewed in issue # 39)... got lost in all th' moves, I reckon (sorry, Von).  After some recent correspondence with Von Babasin (bass, vox), he sent another copy for me to review.  Anyway, on to th' music... some beautiful jazz-oriented music that any hip listener will be rockin' to in only a couple o' barz!  I fell in love IMMEDIATELY with Glen Garrett's flute on the second cut, "Shadowglass"!  Don Lake's harp is jus' KICKIN' on "Alley Want" (track 3) & will make yer' think yer' down in 'dat Missisippi mud... lowdown & slinky!  These guys sound like they LOVE playin' together, & (as most of you know) that kind of energy pleasures my ears more than ANY of that "claptrap" comin' across th' airwaves these days.  This is far more'n "gut level" playin', tho'... these folks know how to milk their instruments to thee BONE!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listeners who get off on well-played funk'n bloozy jazz!  Contact at ONOFFON Productions, 12059 Hoffman St. Suite 104, Studio City, CA 91604, or visit their web site at Rotcod Zzaj

Pimienta Music Corp - CUBA SWINGS:  You BET it does.  Lovely little latin-flavored CD that will have you up & dancin' only moments from th' intro.  It's an interesting combo... Ellington's "Satin Doll", Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" in different time than you've ever heard!  Understanding Spanish would help, I'd imagine, but there's clearly enough musical energy being furnished by the players/singers that it transcends any language barriers.  This is Pimienta's first release, very pleasant & fun to listen to... gets our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz lovers who want a little "latin" in their traditional tunes.  Contact at POB 164833, Miami, FL 33116-4833, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Micky Saunders/Dan Susnara - SOMERSAULTING THRU THE NEW AGE:  Different rhythms & lots more vocals on this lil' 3-tracker (EP) in from Dan's Mumble Mumble label.  Th' feature is Micky's hard-edged vocals... poppy little 4 & 5 chord rawkers that'll put a smile on yer' face fer' sure.  Th' "theme" from th' title seems most apropo, all thru & thru... SOMERSAULTING!   Dan joins in vocally with some nice harmonics, but his focus seems to be on th' instrumentation this time around.  Th' word that comes to mind on these toons is "cute"... not sure why, but it works.  The 8-trakkin' (still) reminds me of some of th' early Beatles stuph (like Rubber Soul), but it's definitely "now" beats!  This 'round gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, 'specially for ears that want a dose of nostalgia.  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

Emergency String Quartet - HILL MUSIC:  Some very pleasant listening (for those improvisationally inclined) on this excellently recorded CD in from "Spring Garden" music.  Bob Marsh (cello), from San Francisco is featured on this great string quartet session.  It takes "chamber music" to levels you haven't quite imagined yet, especially if you haven't been listening to some of the albums we've reviewed with Bob on them lately.  This particular outing (May, 2001) was recorded by Chicago's own Bob Falesch (a name that will be familiar to many who read this magazine, from his festival work in the Chicago area).  CLEAR recording, something that is often not a part of these kinds of albums... I mean every little bow & turn on each instrument (Jeff Hobbs & Tom Swafford on violins, Bob on cello & Damon Smith on double bass) is captured as though you were right there in the room.  One of the best string albums I've heard/reviewed this year, it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as a great album to hail the New Year with!  Contact at/through James Stevens Promotions, 7318 Gladys Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj  (We are PROUD to announce that this CD is now available for credit card purchase at the Zzaj Productions catalog!  Click HERE, please!)

The Tone Sharks - CAVE SLEEPERS:  One of the reviewers called this grouping "a giant rhythm section".  They've certainly got their percussive act together, but it goes much farther than that when you listen down & deep to it!  Basically a quintet that brings a sorta' "big band phunk" sound to improvisation.  Page Hundemer provides some wonderful bass underpinnings throughout their experimental journeys, & there is some great trombone work by Brent Hayne.  We reviewed a percussion album by Dave Storrs last issue, & he really shows an understanding of "crisp" on this outing.  Tom Bergeron's bari & alto sax work is (more than) intriguing, & Steve Willis guitars just RAWK right ON, people.  Many CD's we've listened to that attempt to marry funk'n'percussives butcher it, 'coz they emphasize the bass lines or the percussion too heavily... not SO here... perfect balance is achieved, & the spirit of improvisation stays totally alive throughout the album.  One of the best albums I've heard this year... gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & th' "PICK" of this issue for "best phunk-improv"!  Contact at Louie Records (which has Mr. Storrs at the helm, actually), 644 SW 5th St.,  Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Medwyn Goodall - SNOWS OF KILMIMANJARO:  There are some new instruments on this wonderful CD from Medwyn.  We have, of course, reviewed many of his
works in these pages before, & been mightily impressed.  I especially enjoyed his flute work on this outing, as well as the acoustic guitars.  The
music was inspired as a tribute to a climb up the mountain (in the country of Tanzania) in the title in memory of Martin Friend, who was kidnapped in
that country & killed by terrorists.  Although there are many of the symphonic influences we have come to expect in Mr. Goodall's compositions,
the subtle rhythmic undertones of Africa are there in full force and very pleasantly so.  A spirit of adventure and discovery seldom present on New
Age albums pervades the music & will have you dancing in your mind, if not on your feet.  This CD gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Norman & The Kind - THE EMPEROR WEARS NEW CLOTHES:  This is some of the best straight-ahead jazz I've ever heard.  Rich says it's dedicated to th' bass player, Jack Marshall, & I can hear why!  Some RAWK-SOLID bass playin', that will keep your ears on their toes (so to speak).  Norman's drumming is crisp & clear & very "laid back" (if that's possible for Rich)... right on
target on every beat!  There is some excellent choppery displayed by keyboardist Casey Filson & wizard-like guitar by Jimmy Luttrell.  My favorite cut on th' CD is their rendition of Miles' "All Blues"... it's done at a lightning-speed clip, but doesn't lose any of th' vibrancy of the original... it's here that you realize how marvelous Norman's drumming is -
he TALKS with these drums!  If nothin' else, this outing will make ya' FEEL like an emperor... joyful jazz for everyone, with a full dose of SPIRIT.
Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, along with an advisement... BUY THIS - NOW!  Contact at Plain Brown Wrapper Music, 25 NW 23rd Place, Suite 6,
Portaland, OR 97210-5999 or email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Alexander Kort - MOTHER OF PEARL:  Electronic cello that will carry you into the depths of the instrument on this CD.  Alexander plays skillfully in a way that will wrap you in a certain kind of melancholy... very symphonic, make you think you had just paid hundreds of $$$ for a concert.  This isn't "hitter skitch" improvisation, rather a composed approach that comes across as very mellow & reflective.  He's from Oakland, so I'm wondering if he's familiar with our friend Ernesto Diaz-Infante in San Francisco - if he's not, he SHOULD be - they would make beautiful music together, no doubt.  You will have to enjoy string-work to enjoy this, but if that's your cup of java, you'll agree when I declare it to be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at A Kort, 4401 San Leandro Street # 52, Oakland, CA 94601, via email to  or on the site, at   Rotcod Zzaj

Rodney - Self-titled:  Power-punch rawkin' from Southern California on this CD (direct) from th' group.  Hey - I LIKE IT.  Clean recording (lil' punchy on th' bass, but I s'pose thatz' wot' they wanted).  Those guitarz' jus' KICKIN' AZZ, boyz.  They got an award down in L.A. for "best Indie single", & I can hear why.  Ranges alla' way from simple 3 chord power stuff to some nice balladry (those keyboard intros are FINE, Rodney...)!  Those drums are punchin' a hole in my WALL, boyz'.  If yer' lookin' for Tuva throat-singing, you'll have to go to another record store, but if yer' wantz' ta' jus' RAWK'n'GROOVE, get down AWN-IT!  This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those rawk-ers (still) among us.  This group merits a "HOT watch" notice... they're goin' places!  Contact via email to or on the .MP3 site at   Rotcod Zzaj

World of Tomorrow - III:  This ain't th' strangest I've heard our W.O.O. friends, but it IS "out".  Wouldn't have it any other way from Bonnie Kane & krew, anyway!  She's up to antics per usua on sax, with Chris Morrow on trombone & other lil' thangz... Tim Byrnes on trumpet, Cliff Ferdon doing drums & trujmpet & Scott Prato on bass.  Take one o' those "maze" puzzles you see in th' newspaper, wad it up into little balls... smooth it out again, draw about 3000 more pathways into it, then plop yer'self down in th' middle of it (on lysergic sodium diathalimyde, mayhaps)... see if yer' EVER get out - that's what you'll feel like after you ride th' W.O.O.'s third train.  Is it improv?  Almost, but leans towards R&R.  Is it music?  Clearly, with a few insane twists & turns tossed in fer' good measure.  Ms. Kane's flutes on cut 3 (my favorite track, & the longest, at over 16 minutes) are sensitive through & through!  This should be a C-mas present fer' yer' improvising friends... gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us.  Contact at W.O.O.DIRECT, attn. Zee Yimou, Race Age, POB 249, Knickerbocker Sta., NYC NY 10002-0249, via email to  or on their site at   Rotcod Zzaj  

Jean-bernard le Flic - VOLUME 3:  Sweet little mix of jazzy finger-poppin' tracks from Switzerland.  Unfortunately we didn't find/see the promo material, tho' there's enough to tell you that the CD featured Ian Gordon-Lennox (brass), Claude Jordan (flutes, synth & programming) & Claude Tabarini (drums & vocal).  The originals (as it so often seems to be) had th' real PUNCH, especially "The Moslem" (track 8).  Dark & foreboding in a really energetic "Arabian Knights" sorta' way.  Driving undercurrents, wonderful horns on top of it all.  Cut 4, "Hannibal Crossing The Alps" was full of energy, too, very strong & well played - elephants marching in triple time, you know.  You will have to be dedicated to something new in your listening, but you'll find it quite enjoyable, I know.  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer.  Contact at 41, rue Plantamour, CH-1201, Geneva, Switzerland, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Dave Fuglewicz - LIQUID AUDION:  Those boyz' down in Roswell, NM ain't got NOTHIN' on our madly tapin' friend Dave (in hiz 'umble abode down Georgia way - Roswell, by gawd!).  If you haven't heard terror lately (& I'm NOT talkin' 'bout short sound bytes from thee Twin Towers), this will DO th' TRICK!  A whirling dervish of ever spiraling noize that will tear that dam ROOF off, people!  If yer' were on blue dot, you'd LOSE IT.  Sheer walls of noize, a vortex you'll never escape, an absolute black hole affair.  & I (simply) LOVED it!  This one doesn't have th' proper warning labels on it, however... "NEVER drive down th' ro-ad with this playing"!  For those who dig the demented, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  (Editorial side note:  GOT to get Dave & I hooked up with EDI & '99 Hooker... we would BREAK th' planetary barriers!)  If you're more inclined toward C-mas karols... DON'T GET THIS!  Contact at 360 Sheringham Ct., Roswell, GA 30076, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

The Smirking Herbert - TOO CHUBBY FOR BALLET:  Where DID this dam tape come from?  References to England, big egg on th' front cover, & some WEIRD mixes... highly energetic... prudently psychedelic - AH, there's th' keyword... shoulda' known... it's from Dan Susnara.  He's got Greg Stomberg & Dan Nordquist doing some spooky spoken-word stuff, lots of strange cut-ups weaving in & out.  Sound quality is PERFECT!  Dan's been diddlin' with them dials!  Movin' on in to th' 21st, no doubt; phunky, phunky!  Th' (musical) ideas fly furry, at hyper speed, almost.  Nothin' gets (too much) inna' groove, it's cut & dodge all th' way through... & that's a COMPLIMENT, Dan!  This is one of the most unique musical experiences I've had in 2001 (& Dan/others know I've had some PRETTY damned UNIQUE musical experiences)!  I just luv this tape, maybe 'coz it reminds me so much of Thomas Dolby's stuff; ergo, it not only gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but th' "PICK" of the year for "most creative music"!  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

Kelly Zullo - THIN LINE:  Here's a wonderful lil' folk-rocker in from Kelly, down Nashville way.  The CD & accompanying press kit presents a very nice D.I.Y. feel, through & through.  Th' music suffers nothing from th' home recording (not that it would, of course), in fact this sounds (far) better than many pro-studio recordings I've listened to this year (which means
Kelly took a lot of time to get it right before melting it all down...  kudos, Kelly)!  She has a lyrical style that (in some ways) reminds me of Janis Ian, tho' her vocals come across as much more "southern"!  She plays all originals, & all th' (acoustic & electric) guitars - with HIGH energy!   Spirit jus' SHININ' through on all the songs, very enjoyable & will reach
out & touch ya'!  My favorite tune on here was "He's With Me", the opening track... had th' most "grab", if you can dig what I mean!  For anyone who enjoys well painted word pictures with fine music, this gets our MOST HIGHLY
RECOMMENDED!  Contact through Kelly's site, at, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Straylight - STRAYLIGHT:  We first heard this group several years back on a tape submission for the Olympia Experimental Music Festival.  This is their
first CD release.  You must be in to the out in order to enjoy this.  Dense & thick sound sculptures, rich improvisations & long cuts... just wot' th' rotcod ordered fer' yer' trip!  Tracks 2-6 were performed live at the Knitting Factory, segregated into separate cuts for easy indexing.  Their spectrum is wide, all th' way from noise wall stuph to heavy underbeat with sculptures on top.  Headphones are more'n a "recommendation", they are (like) a "requirement".  Intense listening experience, very well performed! Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us who like their improv on the outer edge. Normals will shy away, as this requires an adventurous listening spirit.  Features Charles Cohen (Buchla music easel), Jason Finkelman (percussives) &
Geoff Gersh (guitar).  Contact them at POB 1015, Canal Street Station, NY, NY 10013, on the website at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Ed Littman - SPLATT:  We first reviewed Ed's material in issue # 47... that outing was a lot more bluesy... this setting starts off with some very out there bass/loop stuff.  Very improvisational, still pinned in that great ol' blues style, but nuthin' yer' can nail down to specifics - just th' way we LOVE it! Ed's playin' against/with a trio, bass (Danny Zanker) & drums (John Bollinger), & they're TIGHT as a dry drumhead.  Some o' these cutz' sound like somethin' Uncle Frank (Zappa) heard/dreamed as background fer' his worst nitemares - & that puts 'em in th' "Zzaj HALL OF FAME"!   Cut 11, "Swank", is my favorite, slinky in rhythm, guitar sneakin' in & out, nice & jazzy!  In fact, that's th' impression I get thru th' whole album... lots of different tempos, real variance in style (with high energy for th' playing from th' opener till th' last bar) and a jaded kind o' jazz that will give any adventuresome listener a challenge!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  This is a great guitar improv set - definite KEEPER!  Contact at 250 W. 10th St., # GF1, New York, NY 10014, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Don Campau - GUARANTEED INJECTION COMFORT OR YOUR MONEY BACK:  Looks like Chris Phinney issued this CD of one of Don's grand efforts 'round '99.  Those familiar with underground artists will recognize Campau as one o' th' "grand-daddies" of this home music/tape phenomenon.  I've listened to a lot of music from his label over these many years, & "INJECTION" is among th' best!  Th' electric guitars are krankin' out some H-O-T moves, & he's got some great chopped-up beats goin' on behind his playing!  Lots to listen for, new discoveries each time you listen through... do it with th' phones on!  "Dining On The San Andreas Fault" was my favorite cut on th' whole album, because o' th' backbeat goin' on down under it (wonder if that has anything to do with th' title?).  For all lovers of rawkin' home-produced music with FUN as it's main ingredient, this come MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact via the website at, email to or snail to PO Box 9162, Santa Rosa CA 95405   Rotcod Zzaj

Fondling Giblets - #WUN:  Th' musick on this CD (in from Bret Hart's Instrumentales Records) will have you reachin' fer' yer' Uzi or yer' asprin... list of players far too long to itemize here, but th' name that sticks out is Charles Rice Goff!  If yer' "wicked", don't expect to get any rest while THIS one is spinning... you'll be wrapped in it from head ta' toe!  Very industrial strength, feels (at times) like gargantuan steel forges coated in sticky glue, tryin' to dig deep into your brain cells.  If you were on krank, you'd be running to yer' shrink.  Lots of nice long pieces, diversionary dances to do away with yer' doldrums.  There are many listeners who will find themselves unable to cope, but those who love the search for new sonic realities will groove on this "symphony of strange".  Contact through the WWW pages at (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, USA   Rotcod Zzaj

Renzi/Weinstein/Kamaguchi - DREAM LIFE:  Traditional improvised jazz that will settle you right into their groove!  Crisp recording & well focussed playing from this wonderful trio will be a genuine treat for your ears.  Renzi's tenor sax is penetrating without being (at all) obtrusive... Masa Kamaguchi's bass traces pathways for th' other two players (& the listener, of course) that are clean & loose... & Jimmy Weinstein's drums pull it all together... tightly integrated music that will inspire players & listeners (alike) to new heights!  Th' energy & excitement cannot be avoided, even by th' most obtuse listener.  The title track is the longest, and a fine example of original composition... intricate, well enunciated & (at the same time) very accessible.  If you enjoy jazz that moves in new directions, you'll agree when I rate it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Get this one!  Contact through FTC, 8306 Wilshire Blvd, # 544, Beverly Hills, CA, or email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Odyssey 5ive - ODYSSEY 5IVE:  This CD came in to us after we had moved back to Washington, about 2 weeks after we had moved from Michigan.  I can't tell from the letter (or the .mp3 site, at ) if this is solo work, but it's most interesting.  Looks and feels/sounds like home-production... drum machine, synth, some guitar tossed in with th' vox.  Very pleasant to listen to, based (for the most part) on loops.  There are some sections that remind me of tapes I heard Eric Hausmann perform on in the early '80's, tho' this musical style (from Michael Kirson Goldapper) is closer to Pink Floyd... that kind o' thing.  You can easily get lost in th' floating backgrounds Michael paints sonically - & that's a good thing!  One thing I didn't dig on as much was the echo-vox thing... I mean, a little swatch would be fine, but it carries on too long.  The other minor criticism is that the only place I could get/see a track listing was on the .mp3 site mentioned above.  Recommend (even) the demos have some kind of cover & label on them, Michael.  Those little things aside, I (still) give this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who enjoys music that will make you float&groove.  Be sure & send us yer' NEXT one, too, 'k?  Contact at 29500 Franklin Rd., #211, Southfield, MI 48034, at the website above, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Scotty Irving/Bret Hart - DUETS VOLUME 1:  This CD came in (back) in August this year.  I'd only heard Scotty on drums prior to this, so his acoustic & electric guitar work was new to these ears.  Bret added E-bow to the mix - with very interesting outcomes indeed!  Some sections (particularly the guitar) sound like flamboyant flamencos, other stretches (track 5) like a roomful of bee-stingers doing ballet.  This is highly energetic improvised creativity... if you're looking for something different, this is the absolute TICKET  to oblivion!  OTOH, if yer' in "normal" node/mode, you'll go elsewhere.  From our perspective (admittedly quite jaded when it comes to sonic entertainment), this rates a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who wants to experience sounds they haven't heard before.  Contact through the WWW pages at (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, USA   Rotcod Zzaj

Francisco Lopez - FRANCISCO LOPEZ:  Francisco & I have only met once (briefly, outside of Entropy Studios, in Hamtramck, Michigan, a couple of years ago), even though I've reviewed & listened to his works (mostly tapes back then) since around 1989 (or so).  He handed this CD off to me as an intro to his current work(s)... there was no title for the CD, not title for the tracks... just an address/site that now appears to have vanished as well.  The sounds on the album are sort of "wall of noise" (tho' not "drone") that will simply overwhelm your aural appendages (& other parts of you, possibly).  You must become absorbed in the sound to get (anywhere close to) "next to it".  It is not a "traditional" CD, and requires intense listening.  Once you're down with it, however, you will find some beauty down below.  This is not "classifiable"... it's not "noise", it's not "industrial"... it IS Francisco!  VERY interesting sculptures, gives a whole new meaning to the generation of sound!  Since I'm not sure if the street addresses are good right now, I'll just list the current email I have for contact -   Rotcod Zzaj

Hermanos Guzanos - A NIGHT IN GUZBURG:  Now, here's a "blast from th' past".  I remember hearing/reviewing Hermanos material WAY back (was it early '90's stuff?  Can't remember that far back).  This stuph is RAWK-in'!  Lyrics on th' opening cut by another vet of th' tape underground, John Bartles.  I'm not sure why/how this came to us by way of ORANGE ENTROPY records... must assume that they're digitizing for Guzanos now.  & that's a GREAT thang... 'coz this twisted (Beefheartian) rock stuff NEEDS to be preserved.  There are sections, though, where th' mike feedback is deafening, so keep yer' speakers turned down until you've got a handle on it.  Takes NUTHIN' away from th' great energies in this music, though!  Group members listed are Gary Wray, Darrell Draeger & Brian James Riedel (with Tom Ferranti & Andy Rey), tho' there are no specific credits... it would be nice to know who was playin' what!  At any rate, if yer' into hard-core underground rawk with a PUNCH, you'll not object when I label this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at Orange Entropy Records, c/o Stephen Zimmerman, 327 Evanston Dr., East Windsor, NJ 08520, or on/through the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

William Roper - JUNE TEENTH:  Very strange tuba jazz on William's debut CD, in from AsianImprov records.  Composed improvisation with a bouncy & bright spirit throughout.  It is a truly interesting combination... asian instruments support many of William's pieces, & (of course) his tuba stands out in front with little effort.  I haven't (ever) heard quite such an interchange, & that's saying quite a lot (for as much/many music(s) as I listen to)!  It is the oriental-influenced cuts that really capture your attention (at least that was true for me).  Track 4, "Kagami Jishi", is an arrangement of a traditional tune (by the late Glenn Horiuchi)... it was my favorite tune on the album & best exemplifies the odd zones that Roper's tuba moves the music into.  If you're looking for straight-up jazz, you'll seek something else, but if (as is true for most readers of this 'zine) you want something you haven't heard yet - you will agree with me as I declare this MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  A fine album!  Contact at 1002 Marcheta St., Altadena, CA 91001, or via email to   The album is available for purchase at    Rotcod Zzaj

The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Duo - THE PRESENT GIFT:  Only one word can describe this CD - (phroggin') H-O-T!  One thing that makes it come across that way (methinks) is the crystal clear recording!  Levin's horn(s) (tenor sax & bass clarinet) start th' (real) dialogue off right on th' first cut!  These 2 have a level of communication down that most players can only dream about.  We've reviewed them before, issue # 47 (which was a trio, I believe).  Joel's piano doesn't take a "back seat", either, because (like I said) this is the TWO of them talking.  The other thing that's impressive (for me) is that th' LISTENER isn't left out of this conversation... it's not just th' two of them speaking with each other - you can hear them talking to you!  Ike's clarinet contrasts beautifully with wooden flute by Futterman on track 4, "Arrival".  My favorite track was "Coolin' In" (the last cut)... makes great use of silent spaces to emphasize th' high energies expressed once they get MOVIN' - & I just LOVED Joel's solid piano on this tune!  Those listeners who especially dig improvised musics that aren't "th' same notes over & over" will dig th' creativity of this duo to th' point where you'll agree (with me) that this is (not only) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, it also gets th' "PICK" of this issue for "best improv duo"!  Contact at Drimala Records, POB 69044, Hampton, VA 23669-9344, online at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj


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