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Issue # 58 REVIEWS
Kent Carter - BEAUVAIS CATHEDRAL: You will have to be a dedicated improvised music fan to "grok" this... that isn't a slam, it's just to let you know that the cello/double bass collages (as Kent calls them) on this Emanem disc require almost as much intensity in the listening as (I imagine) was involved in the playing. The digital remastering (done by Martin Davidson) enhanced what were some really rough recordings (according to Martin's liner notes). What is NOT to be missed, however, is the creative energy that Carter displays throughout the album... the acoustics in the music room this was recorded were good, so you can hear the most intimate details of Kent's stringplays. This disc is (very) important from a historical point, too, I believe... many of the things being done in the electronic zone were coming through loud&clear in sessions like these. Carter reaches deep/low, as well as soaring to orchestral heights - but your ears will have to "fill in the holes" in order for you to catch the excitement of what he is rendering here. Headphones are an absolute necessity for these kinds of compositions! I particularly liked his double bass work on track 2, "Dance Two: Rhapsody", though it's one of the shorter pieces. Track 10, "Bass Suite No. 1", has some excellent bass work on it, too... a whole/complete journey in & of itself. Listeners who are squeamish or inattentive (probably) won't "get it", but in our ears, this album comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact the label at MARTIN DAVIDSON, 3 Bittacy Rise, London NW7 2HH, England or via email to md@emanemdisc .com Tony can (also) be contacted via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Vinny Golia - LINEAGE: Longtime readers of this 'zine (those who get into improv in a B-I-G way) will fall in love with this CD about mid-way through the first song... basically a quartet that features Vinny on tenor/baritone sax & B-flat/Bass clarinets; Bobby Bradford on trumpet; Ken Filiano on bass; & Alex Cline on drums, the action is captured (nearly) as though you were right in th' front row of that proverbial "dark/smoky room" club! The players are super tight together, & playing some genuinely cosmic, far reaching pieces! The horns don't "grab" it all on these compositions, leaving really nice spaces for the bass & drums to display their chops in! There's plenty of reeds/brass, though... Bradford's trumpet is crystal clean, & Golia's reed work is some of the best I've ever heard! Headphones are nice, but not an absolute necessity.... this is th' kind of music you will hear something new in every time you listen through the album... classic, classic, man! Though it is genuine improvisation, sections of it have a very accessible feel, because the big-band leanings make it sound "larger" than it may have actually been... & it is in that light that we are most impressed with this music - it's not just a collection of wild/random, it is clear and lucid expression for listeners who "hear between the lines"! Ain't no amateurs here... full-bodied & high energy jazz that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us. Contact at 9winds, POB 10082, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, or on the site at http://members.aol.com/ninewinds Rotcod Zzaj
No World - IMPROVISATIONS: The keyword for these improvisations by Joseph Celli and Jin Hi Kim is intricate! His reed interfaces with Kim's percussives and strings (Korean instruments) are far more than just interesting... he weaves in/around & through with amazing dexterity. Celli is no stranger to our pages, having been reviewed in some of our earliest issues; his energies are fully directed, & he hits every note with clarity & certainty! This recording was made (quite) sometime back, around 1990... like any classic, though, it gets better with age. One thing that seemed to come through clearly is the degree of fun these 2 were having with their creations... transcending the traditions (both are highly trained musicians) to paint sonic images never relaized before. A true meeting of east/west improvisation happens here, and that (in itself) makes for intrigue for your ears. Having lived in Korea for (about) 15 years myself, I can tell you that few players there are able to achieve the freedom evident in J. H. Kim's style. Those listeners who enjoy music that changes shape & color without being overbearing about it will agree with me when I put this in the MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED stack! Excellent music, excellent listen! Contact at O.O. Discs, 502 Anton St., Bridgeport, CT., 06606-2121 Rotcod Zzaj
Control R Workshop - CONTENTS ARE IN MONOCHROME: This particular CD features Kelvin Pittman on alto sax, Randy Sutherland (tracks 1 & 2 of 3) on drums (on track 3, Randy did double bass) & Daron Key playing guitars on tracks 1 & 2, then switching over to drums on track 3. We (actually) received this quite some time back, & are just now getting around to it - our apologies, guys. My ears have the advantage of having heard them live (read this year's Olympia Experimental Music Festival reviews, though Kelvin wasn't in on that show... Randy played the sax in the festival. Th' keyword for th' improvisations on this CD (as was true in th' live show) is energy... Pittman's sax work is strong, but there is a clear balance between the instruments/players... they are totally attentive to the changes going on around their ears, & amp each other up as th' pieces progress. Some listeners may have difficulty with the fact that there only 3 tracks... shortest is 10:37, longest clocks in at 32:30... for the dedicated improv listener, that won't be a problem - that way, you know you are getting the entire piece. Listeners less accustomed to free-style music will want to reserve headphone space & block out a couple of hours for the experience! I thought Sutherland's drum works on the first 2 tracks were outstanding! This probably won't be a "first choice" for an uninitiated listener... they'll need something with a bit more gentle approach.. but veterans will find it (as I did) a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED sonic journey. Contact through Daron Key, at 4369 Adeline #7, Emeryville, CA 94608, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
C.J. Reaven with Rent Romus' Lords of Outland: Reaven's science-fiction oriented spoken-word against the wild improvisations of Romus' "Lords of Outland" makes for a challenging listen. Fortunately for prospective listeners, the package comes with a full chapbook that allows one to follow along through the entire performance. There are dark shades, voices echoing in the background & a ton of fun for those enchanted with enchantment. The musical backing is totally appropriate to the moods created by C.J.'s readings, & the combination makes for a very balanced listening experience. Track 6, "Space Boy", is an instrumental version of the preceding track that features (what sounds like) some scorching guitar work... but there really is no guitar on Space Boy; the sound you hear is actually a distorted electric cello. The energies of life are abundant here, & you will hear the beauty of Reaven's dreams as well as the screams in her nightmares. Dr. Charles Ponce's commentary in the foreword describes it very aptly... "There is little pretty here, but there is beauty - the beauty of storms and volcanoes, earthquakes and the quiet where the end and beginning of things is always found, eternal." If you're lookin' for music/poetry that is all heartz/flowerz', designed to mask the pain/beauty of life... go ELSEwhere; but if you crave fresh images that capture the essence of this rising voice and the life all around it, you'll certainly agree with me that this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at Edgtone Records, POB 2281, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or via the site at www.edgetonerecords.com Rotcod Zzaj
The Tone Sharks - WW.SHARK: Our friend Dave Storrs & th' rest of th' "sharks" crew (most notably, Tom Bergeron's soprano & alto sax work) are kickin' some TAIL on this album. If you just gotta' have jazz that is jaded, tunes that tease & music that'll modify yer' mind - this IS what yer' hungering for. MUCHO cool, lots of divergent notes, yet with continuity and solid foundations that most jazz groups just don't get any more! It is (by no means) "straight" jazz... more like sonic sketches painted for your ears to behold as puzzle & challenge. There are sections with walkin' bass & more recognizeable phunk-ee rhythms, but the real deal on this album is that if you listen carefully, you will hear th' answers to jazz riddles that philosophers have pondered for centuries... heh! heh! Actually, that's bunk... this is just GOOD STUFF! If th' Sharks haven't played with our friend Dan Blunck (before), they should now! Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from our ears! Contact at Louie Records, 644 SW 5th St., Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at www.peak.org/~louierec or via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
99 Hooker - EVERYTHING CHANGED AFTER 7-11: So, you think yer' cool, eh... I mean, you know alla' those artistes & you listen to ev'rything that's hip - right? Well, don't let our friend Hooker get hold of you, then... he will take what you say, what you sing, what you play, what you write & (maybe) even what you think & turn it into a phan-tastic multimedia phroggin' event! Having played with him before (both in recorded mode & live), I know that what it starts out to be is seldom how it will be by th' time '99 works his magicks on it. The music & (more importantly) words on this particular CD are not for listeners who don't like their music (ever so slightly) abused... I mean, if you want to hear platitudes & niceties - go attend your local poetry group meetings! You can't classify this dude, either... I mean, you can call him a poet... but he ain't... you might call him an "odd-ist", but the problem with that is that what he's doing is culled from what's around you - today, right now! If anything, I'd call him a MMA-DQ (multi-media agitator - with Disturbing qualities). Two of the cuts on this album are nothing but silence, because the publishing companies who had the rights objected to '99's twisted versions... you can read his thoughts on THAT at www.paxrecordings.com/linernotes/rev99.html If your mind is up for some real stimulation, you will WANT to get/listen to this album about 300 times... there is something new on each spin. It gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for listeners who are tired of "normal". Contact through VERGE, at firstname.lastname@example.org or the publicist, Pax Recordings, POB 591138, San Francisco, CA 94159-1138 (email for Pax is email@example.com) Rotcod Zzaj
Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Mark Flake - LETTER BOMB: One side of my friend Ernesto's improvisations that has always intrigued me (& many listeners around the world, I've no doubt) is his experimentation with integrating hypnotic & near psychedelic vocal threads with the compositions. This CD does a marvelous job of that... when you think you are "hearing voices"... you really are! Mark's drum machines are an interesting platform for Ernesto's guitars, particularly on the second cut, "Retarded Spagetti Punk" (which, indeed, sounds like retarded punk... :-) I'm not altogether sure my pup (who is named Coco) would enjoy th' title of track 4, "Toxins For Coco"... fans of avant-improv won't be able to help fallin' in luv with this 49:00 monstah', tho'... there is a new sound ev'ry minit... exploring the depths of the sound, something both these players are excellent at! I'm reminded in some ways of compositions I've heard from Dave Fuglewicz & Pete Painful on this cut. Every wave of the sonic spectrum is explored (to include the feedback hum). Just about midway through the track, Flake's drums turn it into something that sort of reminds me of a totally twisted "Black Napkins" (an old Zappa tune). You will have to be dedicated to strange to enjoy this (as much as I did)... it gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those listeners who aren't afraid of exploratory sonics. Contact via the website at www.woodrecords.com Rotcod Zzaj
Guss - AS IS: This lil' CD is (truly) music to OUR ears! A trio that used to play in Corvalis, Oregon, "Guss" features Leroy Critcher on guitar/synth(s), Dan Scollard on bass & Dave Storrs on drums. The CD was recorded live at the "Cafe Java Rama", sometime back (no time-frame was provided... entirely appropriate, as this is music that will never outlast it's welcome in th' Zzaj studios). Whoever recorded this did an excellent job... clear as can be (for a live recording), & ev'ry little nuance comes through! If it weren't for knowing how much jazz Storrs plays, I'd be tempted to call this live show a form of "space music"... I've no doubt that Jerry Kranitz) (at AURAL INNOVATIONS) would love to review more of Guss's work... as would we! Several musical groupings I've been a part of (especially those in the "Gnu Deli" days, back in the early '80's, here in Olympia) play(ed) music like this. Part phunk, part jazz, part space... but, more'n anything else, it is their high energy that makes the listening (both) fun and challenging. I really DUG this CD... it gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us; especially if your ears are craving something with a difference! Contact at Louie Records, 644 SW 5th St., Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at www.peak.org/~louierec or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Hart, Goff, McGee - MESHED MIXAGES: If you think political "spin artists" have totally perverted the language with their sound bytes, wait'll you hear THIS CD... we need to pipe this in to th' Presidential suite... OBL would be history after "Shrubbie" had listened through this noitalubobmocsid for 2 or 3 nights! For those unfamiliar with home recordists & their history, Bret Hart has been making disturbing music(s) for nearly 20 years now; Charles Rice Goff III has applied all manner of twisting to the tongue in order to generate sonic spoken-word that would strike terror in the holiest of rollers; & Hal McGee is among the "granddaddies" of synthesizer madness (Hal started one of the first home-taper 'zines, Electronic Cottage, many years ago). Imagine a cat tossed in a washer spinning at about 9000 rpm, with 28,000 chopsticks added for good measure, & you'll have the essence of track 3, "Fissure". Styles vary as well... cut 4, "The Alones" features some very nice improvised piano (by whom, boyz; no credits visible?), & some nice synth lines, too. "Pectoral Glance", track 15, will, without doubt, stretch the muscles of yer' MIND! A bit darker tone is established on # 18, "Cardiac" (did an arrest follow the recording of this tune, I wonder?). A very well recorded CD that uses high energy and imagination to bring genuinely new sounds to your ears... I think we need to make "Meshed MIxages" mandatory for every "Blue Meanie" in the land! For those who lust after linguistics with sonic strangeness, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best bent improv"! Contact any of these fellers as followz... Bret Hart is at 428 Patrick St., Eden, NC, 27288; CRG can be reached via his site at www.geocities.com/padukem & Hal McGee is available via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Rick Ray - THE GUITARSONIST: I'm not sure if it was my pal Jerry Kranitz, at AURAL INNOVATIONS, who turned Rick on to us (or, perhaps it was Bret Hart?), but whoever sent him our way was in touch with what gets my blood pumpin'... this is some of the best straight-ahead rawk-in guitar I've heard - EVER! The bio/liners make lots of comparisons to more known artists (Hendrix, Trower, even th' Fab Four), but the ones he reminds me more of are players like Jim Konen, Mark Kissinger, and (to some degree), Russ Stedman. He has an astounding collection of recordings (send us MORE for review, Rick, PLEASE!!!), on his site at http://communities.msn.com/guitaristrickray... but more importantly, he has a style that is uniquely his (no matter how many comparisons get made). He has an energy that burns - and uses it (with great flourish & conviction) to tell th' world what real really is about! According to my reading of the press releases & articles, he is a Christian artist, which (in my mind) can be a detractor (sometimes)... since I grew up in th' thick of th' Bible Belt, I'm very familiar with people who try & use a little talent to create an impression of wisdom & insight... that is (definitely) not the case with Ray's compositions! He does integrate messages about his faith (seamlessly) in his songs, but you can feel how genuine his experience is, whether his lyrics are rippin' apart the hypocrisy of today's "Beast" (World Government), or ranting against "mind control" (Ritalin & other tranks/adjusters bein' used to bend young minds to th' will of th' politicos). Just hearing him on this one album, I can tell he's a musician/poet I'd love to collaborate with, for th' raw passion & pure energy he plays with. Guitar leads that smoke, as well as synth/drum programming that contribute to an overall musical experience that is retro/future all at the same moment - TIMELESS music! He gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "absolute best guitarist" of 2002 (it also has the distinction of being one of the (few) albums that stays in my CAR player)! Contact him on his site via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail to Neurosis Records, 20301 Ball Ave. Euclid, OH 44123!! & do it TODAY!!!! Rotcod Zzaj
Delta Activity - ILL FATED: Nick LoBue (guitar, vocals) sent this alterna-rawk CD in. Ben Henderson wrote all th' lyrics (& also does bass, keys & vocals)... th' rest of the quartet is David Padilla on guitar & vocals & Anthony Olyaee doing drums & percussion. Anthony made the (former) trio a quartet, & it's a welcome addition. He provides a nice punch under the guitars. They are playin' (very) scripted rockin' pieces, well recorded & high energy... makes for nice road music. They play live in the Bay area at various clubs, & I can see/hear how well they'd fit in th' club scene. Definitely nice (music) writing, & they're tight together, always on time! There's no doubt that you could/would hear somethin' like this on yer' local FM/rock station, & it's entirely possible that you may be hearin' THEM (ever so) soon. If you're lookin' for improv, you'll have to move on... this is most assuredly not free-style, but it has nice energy & lyrical appeal. Some shades of Led Zep style, though time will mature their sound/talent into something uniquely their own. "LongRide" has some nice backin' vox that remind me (in some remote way) of some o' Zappa's live show rock compz, & there's an almost "jazz" feel on the instrumental "Catalogue Action" (my favorite track). We'll be lookin' for their next CD release, verzure... gets a RECOMMENDED for any listeners wantin' somethin' pleasant to rawk&groove with! Contact through the site at www.deltaactivity.com or via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Klobas/Storrs/Hunderner - IN THE ROOM: Thee phroggin' rubber room fer' jazzoids... ha! ha! ha! ha! I've listened to a lot of music (in various groupings) with drummer Dave Storrs on it, but this is th' first time I've heard Daffy Duck's rendition of scat-singin'... jus' can't stop laughin' at that opening track... you'll have to ORDER th' CD to hear it for yourself, though. One of the things that comes through clearly on all the jazz & atmospheric tunes on this joyful album is that these players are not painted in to any room.... the room they are in is the room where the spheres are - where both listeners & players can make an adventure out of the journeys these players take. You might think that could be difficult with just drums, drums & guitar/vox... but they make it seem absolutely effortless. Some of the best creative music I've heard in years. Don't think I'd play it for my 90 year old mom... she wouldn't be 90 any longer... she'd move on to her next plane from th' strangeness of "In The Room"... but for those who enjoy hearing percussion-based zaniness that can't be boxed in, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best creative energy"! Contact at Louie Records, 644 SW 5th St., Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at www.peak.org/~louierec or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Nudge Squidfish - A DIFFERENT KIND OF FAME: So yer' wanna' RAWK, eh? Get away from all that freeform jazz & experimental wig-out, without descending into th' murk of punk-dom? You'll wanna' get this "Orange Entropy" release then! Styles go all the way from "Iggy Pop"-like bumpin' rock to spoken-word balladry (track 2, "Half Dead", which I liked a great deal). Some definite blues influences goin' on here, too, with acoustic/electric guitars & delta-mud vocals as you might expect. "Agenda", the fourth cut, shows a real flair for composition, somethin' we don't hear (often) in rock/folk based groups. The biggest problem I had with th' CD, though, is that there was very little info on the artist(?s?). Even on th' webpages for Nudge, there's not much you can discern about th' artist... mebbe' that's how he wants it, I don't know. Anyway, this is pretty cool stuff... parts of it would make good road music... we give th' album a RECOMMENDED (for listeners who want to rawk & do th' blooz a bit) & hope to hear more at some point (especially if it's all original material). Contact via th' site at ORANGE ENTROPY or via email to Squid@OrangeEntropy.com Rotcod Zzaj
Patrice Williamson - FREE TO DREAM: We (first) reviewed Patrice's work (way back) in issue # 37... we were impressed then, but we're groovin' on it this time; talk about maturity... her husky tones are enough to turn (even) a monk on! This time around, th' cuts seem to be (all) originals. Her style is sweet vocal jazz supported by a sextet of hip players.... Eric Byers on guitars, Jason Hunter doing soprano & tenor sax, Keela Kaumeheiwa on acoustic bass, Ron Savage on drums, Mark Shilansky doing piano & Kere Washington on percussion. This band is tight behind her well crafted lyrics & high energy/talent shines through like the sun on a blue sky day. All styles are pretty well represented... scat, ballad, even a taste of Latin rhythm ("Gentle Rain"). The changes are right on time, & amplify/elevate Ms. Williamson's vocals to good effect all the way through. No smooth jazz (tho' it is smooth, too) here... thanks to th' her spirit & soul, this is music that inspires... at th' very least, it'lll have you tappin' your toes & at the heights, you/your mind will be dancing! Just superb jazz with explosive energy.. gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want somethin' to groove to (wait til' you hear Patrice's flute... sweet, sweet)! Contact through Braithwaite & Katz via email to email@example.com or at River Lily Records, 25 Edgerly Road, Suite 16, Boston, MA 02115 Rotcod Zzaj
Nana - DAUGHTERS OF THE SUN: We were pleasantly surprised when we spun this CD the first time... the album title had me thinkin' it was "just another new age" affair... hardly so. Nana's sitar playing alone makes it well worth purchasing! Her vocal work on the compositions adds a dimension of inspiration and spirit that elevate this album far above the "just another" classification. If you're looking for some music that isn't the same as all the rest, something different... GET this one! According to the press kits, it's big on New Age & World charts, though I wouldn't recommend it for that reason... the clear spiritual enlightenment and energy she displays in the arrangements & composition is what makes or breaks it for us. Ms. Simopoulos is a master at using silence to heighten the energies of a song, too.. my favorite track, "Vin Yo Mai", has some fantastic percussion, but opens with punctuational silent spaces. Yes, you could use this as background for Yoga, I suppose... but I think you'll find it far more interesting if you (just) reserve an hour or two for yourself, put th' phones on & get absorbed in what she is doing! "Daughters Of The Sun" is a definite keeper, & gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating! Contact through Nana's website at www.nana.net Rotcod Zzaj
Bobby Shew, Gary Foster & Friends - PLAY THE MUSIC OF REED KOTLER: A double-CD set that highlights some wonderful jazz by Shew & crew! We (first) reviewed Bobby's music in issue # 35, and were highly impressed... with the spirit of jazz expressed & how that spirit just bubbled to the top! Well, this round (obviously) has more music, but it's also got many different styles to listen to. Old time jazz fans (not that smooth junk, with no guts) will love the straight ahead licks, especially when Bobby gets down on that brass (trumpet & flugelhorn); one thing I love about his playing style is that though he clearly establishes his presence (& how hard is it for a brass player to do that?), he blends... never overbearing, just beautiful to listen to! Foster's flutes are a perfect matchup for the horns, sliding in, out, over & through the tunes ever so nicely. The rest of the quintet (Bill Cunliffe on piano; Darek Oleskiewicz playing bass & Paul Kreibich on drums & wind chimes) make really lovely stuff happen as well. All compositions on the album were by Reed Kotler... his writing style is superb, spaces for all to play, no dead spots anywhere; he collaborated with Bobby extensively on the production, & they really got it together, folks! The recording is excellent & full of vibrant energy. This album would go well in a party setting, but would also be totally cool while cruisin' down th' boulevard, too. Tasty, tasty... gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz lovers everywhere! Contact via email to reed!toriirecords.com or on their site at www.toriirecords.com Rotcod Zzaj
Llama - LLANDROMEDA: Ghosts invade from the past... much of the music on this double-CD set was culled from tapes we reviewed in I.N. as far back as issue # 6 & also in #'s 9 and 14. Keith Meiere (a member of the group who has shared a fate similar to mine... layed off from work) played keyboards and guitars; Walter Wright did keyboards and percussion; Billy Romanowski did keys & guitars, & David Cook was (also) featured on keyboards. As with any xvert to digital format, the music (that was on the original tapes) is greatly enhanced. I am particularly enjoying the spoken-word material by Debi Sellers! While this is improvised, it's heavily electronic, so some purists will say - AW, NAW... to their detriment... this is GREAT music! Timeless, the stuff of classic soundtracks and dreams... if you're a fan of exploratory/space music, you owe it to yourself to get in touch with Llama... they get a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer. Contact through the site at http://members.iquest.net/~twilight/studio.html or via snail to Keith Meiere, 5369 Rippling Book Way, Carmel, IN 46033-9190 Rotcod Zzaj
World Of Tomorrow - GLOBAL CITIZEN: We have reviewed (I think) nearly every one of the four releases by this group (this being the 4th). "Global Citizen" was a completely in-studio recording, & it just shines! The recording quality certainly enhances the listen, but it's still their raw & uncompromising energy that makes it such a winner. Bonnie Kane's sax, flute & electronics are prominent, but Cliff Ferdon's drums/trumpet, Chris Morrow's trombone, electronics & vox, Tim Byrne's trumpet & Scott Prato's bass/vox all contribute to one of the finest improvised sessions you'll ever hear! (note to Arrington - we GOTTA' get these folks out here for next year's Experimental Music Festival) I don't know if it's because they knew the studio equipment was gonna' catch every nook/cranny/missed note, or because they were just "on" this time... but, this stuff ROCKS! Listeners who are afraid of change or unable to enjoy sonic adventure will be unable to cope with "World Of Tomorrow"... but those who crave new sounds, music that challenges at every twist & turn won't be able to forget th' sonics here. It's almost like they're in touch with the primal in all of us... little nuances in a section will reach down deep in yer' head & STAY there (because it was something about a mem'ry of when YOU were out chasing mastadons). Make sure you've got th' headphones on while listening to this, & strap yourself down so you don't damage any equipment... this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the "out"! Contact at W.O.O.DIRECT, c/o Ray Sage, POB 249, Knickerbocker Sta., NYC NY 10002-0249, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on their site at www.wooweb.com Rotcod Zzaj
FunkMeister G & Bret Hart - DUETS, Volume 1: Graham Hall-day is FunkMeister G, a self-described "anarcho-musician", from Australia. He sent our long-time improvising friend Bret the recordings of a group of solo performances, in August & September of 2001... Bret fed it in to his "mobile tone magnet", & thee rest is sonic (& anarchist) history. There are some very dense collages (using guitars, percussives & who knows what else) on here, thick with noises you never imagined possible... most of the pieces are short (as in under 3 minutes), but even with the heavy tones, there are plenty of nuances for your ears to sort through. several of the pieces sound like what you might hear at a busy building construction site... jackhammers jumping, trucks/trains doing delivery dances, large metal rods falling to the death. The track titles fit that theme as well... "Hydroelectric plant" (cut 8) definitely has th' buzz & crackle you would expect to sputter forth from huge electrical generators... "Body Shop" (cut 3) will remove & refinish all th' dents & rust spots in yer' cranium. I would love to see these 2 gents play live together... maybe we need to get them up here for next year's Olympia Experimental Music Festival, Arrington? Hint! Hint! A wonderful improvised excursion that gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of exploratory sonic surgery the world over. Contact through the pages at www.homemademusic.com (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 428 Patrick St., Eden, NC, 27288... FunkMeister G can be contacted through his pages at www.zyworld.com/chunkfunk/be.htm Rotcod Zzaj
Kerry Politzer Trio - WATERCOLOR: Hearing some very nice piano (Kerry) in the forefront of this cool lil' jazz CD (in from B&K Communications, the promoter), along with bass by Dan Fabricatore & drums by Scott McLemore. Her keyboard style is precise and her touch firm on these all (but one) original compositions, but she makes it sound effortless; true talent being displayed here. The trio plays straight-ahead jazz with ultra high energy and spirit... this is the kind of stuff you would hear Friday & Saturday nights at your favorite local jazz club (not th' country club, but th' downtown & out smoke-filled room kind of thing). I was particularly enchanted with cut 2, "Sparks", for the bright colors displayed. Super quality recording, with each instrument highlighted when appropriate. Track 11, "Simmer", is another favorite listen for me, a bubbly and shining free spirit composition that has a really great bass solo by Dan & displays the trio dynamic better than some of the other pieces (I thought). Kerry's playing is loose & free throughout, star rising for sure... very listenable, gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz fans the world 'round! Unfortunately, no contact info was listed on the CD jacket for her label (Polisonic), so you'll need to contact through the promoter, 2400 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 or via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Marcelo Radulovich - HELLO: Dense electronic sculptures, intricately detailed and bent on destroying your eardrums on this CD in from the "Accretions" label. Latin-tinged electronic grunge, if you will. It's very interesting, actually, especially on tunes like "Earthworm", which could be the soundtrack for a movie of the same name (imagine that). Radulovich seems particularly effective at manipulating the electronics to emulate the scene he's imagining, in a sonically visual way, rather than a mental image. I can (nearly) see that damn worm wiggling to th' samba of answering machines & touch tone pulses that runs in the background. The sound quality is excellent, nothing missed, nothing muddled. I should forewarn you, though... if you've never listened to experimental sonics before, you may want to start with something more gentle. Those who've been riding th' waves of sound experiment for some years now will agree with me when I say that it's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Definitely not what you'll be expecting, with twists & turns even the most jaded listener will find pleasantly surprising. Contact the label at POB 81973, San Diego, CA 92138, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the link to the site above. Rotcod Zzaj
Kevin Kendle - MUSIC FOR YOGA: Kevin's beautiful music is no stranger to our ears... & shouldn't be to yours if you love beauty and calm in what you choose to listen to. We reviewed him in issues # 41 and 57 ; those albums were much more in a New Age frame, and it was somewhat surprising to find that an album intended for meditation uses (cut 1, "Sunlight") so much jazz structure... the rhythms are slowed down significantly, but the patterns (particularly the bass and Rhodes-sounding keyboards) are firmly rooted in that tradition. The other (longer) tracks ("Stars", track 2, and "Still Air", track 3), are more in the ambient vein, however... definitely music that could inspire you on your majick karpet ride to th' nether regions. One detractor (for me) on these albums created intentionally for reflection and meditation is that the (musical) theme is constant through each cut... in fact, it is exactly the same chord pattern repeated into oblivion (Nirvana?). That makes this outing much less attractive for me... this one only gets a RECOMMENDED (& that is only for listeners who strictly intend to use it as an aid to their concentration for Yoga - it is great for that). Contact/purchase through the site at www.newworldmusic.com Rotcod Zzaj
Eden Atwood - WAVES: A "Groove Note" CD with Latin music & rhythms in from Eden (just released in June). If I close my eyes tightly, I can remember bein' by ocean at Virginia Beach, groovin' to my first listen of Astrud Gilberto & Stan Gets... though there's more piano (Bill Cunliffe) on "He's A Carioca" than I remember on Getz's album. Eden's vocal style is much more energetic than I remember from Ms. Gilberto... & that's not a bad thing at all - sorta' like a Latino "scat" style - relaxing & invigorating at the same time. She's still nice&mellow in places; just that you can almost feel her energies in your ears... her fire burns hot, people! Her version of "The Girl From Ipanema" is - what can I say - "sultry", "sexy", "ultimately cool"! She's also joined by guitarist Anthony Wilson, one of our favorite jazz guitarists on this tune, & th' combo makes this cut my favorite on the CD... maybe I'm (just) gettin' old & prone towards nostalgis... uno's? If you dig Latino-flavored vocals (like I do), you'll agree when I declare this CD to be MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED... if you don't - it's your loss! Contact at Groove Note Records, Attn - Nina Lynch, 6095 Selma Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028, via email to email@example.com or on the site at www.groovenote.com Rotcod Zzaj
Satoko Fujii - BELL THE CAT: Ms. Fujii has been playing in trio format with drummer Jim Black & bassist Mark Dresser quite frequently of late. We have enjoyed reviewing many of those CD's (issues # 38, 44, and 50), but this "Cat" thing is one of the most agressive we've heard yet! The opening cut, "Silence", is anything but silent.... I mean, it may start off that way, but it rapidly moves into territory that only th' best of improvisors can explore... never a note "misses", & no dead spots at all! With that many albums (& probably endless sessions) unber their belt, you would expect a high level of communication between the members of the group... but this is near spooky - they (each) know where they're going to go next; some amazing passages. The recording is crisp & the playing is brilliant on each & every song. This isn't "standard" jazz (although there are cuts, like "Get Along Well With---", that have rhythm(s) rooted deep in jazz), & the uninitiated listener will hear this as "strange" & "different". What will also come across is the clear love of playing that each of the musicians in this trio have! I listen to a lot of music, & I haven't heard music with this many (pleasant) improvised surprises in a long time... we (not only) give it our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating... it also gets our "PICK" of the year for "best creative trio"! Contact Ewe Records, 3-4-7, #301, Minami Aoyamu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 107-0062, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase the CD at www.amazon.com Rotcod Zzaj
Dan Ar Braz - MADE IN BREIZH: A highly respected & well established guitarist in his native Brittany, Dan Ar Braz has put some shining examples of music culled from the finest artists in the Celtic tradition (there is also a wonderful history of the Celtic tribes in the CD insert that makes for very interesting reading, too). This is the kind of music that can (almost) instantly bring back dreams of ancient struggles and triumphs... heartstrings may be torn apart! The simple structures of many of the songs should not be "pooh-poohed" away (though I'm sure some reviewers will fall into that trap), because there is a majesty and power here that (still) reaches out across thousands of years to "call the wanderer home". My favorite track (for some reason) was # 8, "Evit Ar Braz", a piece "from the traditional dance called "Dans Plin"... multiphonic & brilliantly full of life! If you're wanting music that reaches in/down to the "spirit" level that is (at the same time) highly creative & inspirational, GET this one. Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating! Contact at Tinder Records, 4380 Redmond Way, Suite 810, San Rafael, CA 94903, via e-mail to email@example.com or on the site at www.tinderrecords.com Rotcod Zzaj
Brad Dutz/Jeff Kaiser - THE ORDER OF HER BONES: Our friend Jeff (at pfMENTUM records) has been busy, recording up a storm. There are a couple other CD's he is part of that will be reviewed in later issues. "Bones" features his trumpet against percussion artistry by Brad Dutz. An even dozen tracks of highly creative & energetic improvisation that will make your ears stand at attention. I can tell you, you've never heard a marimba (with a trumpet) played like Brad plays it. The players are totally conscious of each other, using the open spaces freely in a conversational mode that is "listener-friendly". Almost like you're eavesdropping on their private thoughts (and, in a way, I suppose you are). Jeff's playing is "seamless", totally flowing & full of freedom. I emjoyed each of the cuts 2 or 3 times, catching the playful spirit expressed right away... you will, too! This CD gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners enchanted with new sonic experience; if your ears curdle when listening to music that MOVES.. you probably aren't reading this 'zine anyway, so it doesn't matter. VERY interesting music. Contact at POB 1653, Ventura, CA 93002, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the site at www.pfmentum.com Rotcod Zzaj
Richard Shulman - CAMELOT REAWAKENED, A VISION FULFILLED: This is our first listen to Shulman's beautiful orchestral works... very pleasant indeed. You can tell from the title (obviously) that the music will be inspirational and full of majesty. If we could get all these posturing political maniacs in D.C. & Iraq to sit (quietly) and listen through this album in its entirety, I've no doubt that the (good/peaceful) dreams mankind has (in the collective) would not only rise, but would "supersede" the current savage spirits running the world to ruin. Shulman's masterful compositions on this CD make the dream feel like it can become real. The recording is flawless! We hope to hear more of Mr. Shulman's works... "Camelot" gets our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating for lovers of sonic beauty everywhere in the world. This should be "required listening" for school children of all ages in countries all across the world! SEND a copy to Sadaam & Georgie, Richard... let's see if they can "grok" your intent! Contact at POB 467, Woodstock, NY 12498, via email to email@example.com or on the site at www.richheartmusic.com Rotcod Zzaj
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