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Improvijazzation Nation

Issue # 59 REVIEWS

Herd of 360 Homogenized Dogs - SUMMIT:    If you follow  the trends/artistes in "underground" music over the last 20 years at all, you will quickly recognize that "herd" word... it's always a sign of some kind o' "Goff-ery" lurking in th' production somewhere.  CRG III (Charles Rice Goff III) has been "hookin' up" with various & sundry producers of this "illegitimate" music since before the dawn of time, I imagine.  At any rate, on this outing, you will also find Shawn Kerby, Phil Klampe, Hal McGee and Brian Noring joining in the madnesses.  McGee & Noring have been doin' strange music(s) ever since I joined the fray (nearly 25 years ago now).  On "SUMMIT", you will hear a collection of electronic compositions (only 3 tracks, actually) that will astound your aural appendages and (either) make you lust for more, or sign in to th' local rubber room!  It is not "straight" industrial synth-work (at all) that you hear going on down under Goff's patches & snippets, but there are similarities.  It is, rather, an electronic exploration similar in nature to some of the acoustic guitar & synthesizer works that I've done with folks like Ernesto Diaz-Infante .  The improvisations were live in Des Moines, at Brian's "F.D.R. Studios".  There is a real symmetry to the spoken-word material, & it mixes beautifully with the random tones, crashes & bangs from the electronics.  Folks who mow their lawns ev'ry Saturday prob'ly won't find this too attractive for their Walkmans as they rake up th' chaff... but listeners who love sonic explorations will find it awfully enchanting... enough so that they'll agree when I declare this to be MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  The contact addresses are as follows:  CRG III at , or on his site at ... Phil Klampe at or on his site at   ... Hal McGee via email to ... or Brian Noring at   Rotcod Zzaj

Rawk Dawg - ROCK WITH AN ATTITUDE:    This is indeed some rawk-in' stuph!  Pretty basic 4-piece grouping, with guitar (Jo Island & Justin Case), bass (Evan Chuley), drums (Mia Ana)  & vocals (Jo Island & Evan Chuley), but they distinguish themselves with rock tunes that are definitely in "harder edge" territory.  I dig it 'coz they don't over-glam it, keepin' it to that kiind o' rock that was made for moto-cycle mamas & ridin' th' roadz!  The liner notes hype it as having been improvised, & there is a real sense of spontaneous playing... so, it ain't all hype!  Even us old pharts need a dose of th' juice every once in a bloo moon, & these volkz got energy quotients at th' mega-watt level!  If yer' a hard-core improv/free-jazz purist, you won't find this attractive... but if you like to feel those raw instincts pumpin' through yer' veins - GET THIS ONE!  Their tray inserts could use a lil' work on th' next round (I would like to see credits somewhere, f'rinstance), but that doesn't detract from th' listening experience.  GREAT stuff, reminiscent (in some spots) of Bachman-Turner Overdrive & (even) Deep Purple.  You can contact them at POB 219, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, via e-mail to or on their sites at (either) or    Rotcod Zzaj

Bert Wilson & Rebirth - REBIRTH LOVES MONK:    Any fan who claims to (truly) love jazz just has to know who "Monk" (as in Thelonious) is... & after listening to this high-energy CD, they will certainly know who Bert & his band REBIRTH are!   I've listened to Wilson at his wildest, in both live performance, as well as at his crib, but it was different in those settings.  This grand group (Bert on tenor sax, Allen Youngblood on piano, Chuck Metcalf playing bass, Bob Meyer on drums, Nancy Curtis on flute (track 2) & Chuck Hoyer doing piano on track 6) plays some of the best Monk tunes ever recorded.  Youngblood is a central focus, as you might expect, but the players are (like totally, man) in tune with each other, & leave plenty of space for sweet solos.  They play one of the most energetic renditions of "Well You Needn't" that I've ever heard (& I've heard a lot of players try this one).  Wilson does a wonderful job of keepin' this track "in focus" with the original energy that Monk gave it, but (at the same time), carries it "up" a notch towards "out"... which, once again, any true fan will love... this is some of the best sax I've ever heard...  & to think - th' guy is only about 5 miles from my house (here in Olympia)... this cat can B-L-O-W!   Definitely reminds me of some of the best sessions I listened to back in the early '60's in th' jazzkellers of Deutschland, but Bert hears in time that other reed players can't even imagine!  "Little Rootie Tootie" is my favorite track... definitely got that "hep cat" feel th' players had when I was growin' up... & since I'm still growin' up, this take me back to smoke-filled rooms full of finger&toe-tappin' hipsters noddin' out right along with me.  In all seriousness, though, if you've heard Bert Wilson's name, but never listened to one of his CD's - THIS is th' place to start.  It gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "most cosmic straight-ahead jazz"!   Contact at FMO Productions, POB 11682, Olympia, WA 98508-1682, or via the website at     Rotcod Zzaj

Eric Wallack - VERMIS:    Don Campau sent this very interesting CD from Ohio ?native? (at least he's living there right now) Eric.  If I'm not mistaken, I also have a CD (waiting in the stacks) in that features Wallack with our long-time improvising friend Bret Hart, too.   Eric's compositions on "Vermis" are (to my ears) sounding sort of like a marijuana-ized version of the themes from "Deliverance".  Lots of strings, guitars & everything else you could imagine that would be present in a chamber music performance (in the way of strings, I mean).  It would be nice (I think) if the CD jacket had instrument listings, so we know exactly what Wallack is playing... but that is a minor complaint... the real meat is in th' MUSIC... & for those who love music that challenges the aural appendages - this will be like beefsteak!  The thing that's most impressive here is that there is something new on every tune.   Actually, I am reminded of some of the earliest work I heard Bret Hart do with guitars & other string-based instruments.... & being compared to Hart is a high compliment, Eric.  This CD is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who don't want to hear the same old chords over&over&over again.  Most pleasant listening.  Contact via e-mail to or on Don's website at    Eric also has it posted on his page at HOMEMADE MUSIC!   Rotcod Zzaj

Bert Wilson & Rebirth - LIVE & SMOKIN':  Well - th' obvious question is... WHAT were they smokin'?  There is a big difference on this iteration of REBIRTH (recorded in 1989, from a live show at Seattle's BUMBERSHOOT)... different players, for one thing - Bert is there, of course, but on this outing, he is playing alto, tenor and soprano sax... Nancy Curtis plays flute on this CD... Craig Hoyer does piano, Dan Schulte plays bass & Bob Meyer does drums - but (perhaps because it's a live show) the band's energy is just totally different as well!   Another major factor (I believe) is that these are all Wilson original tunes with high splendor!  The recording is excellent, capturing every little nook & cranny, every nuance you could have heard if you were right there in the front rows.   One of the most beautiful things about any band/group I've heard Bert play in/with/against is that he leaves room (in both the composition and his playing style) for other players to excel in... we have all heard great jazz bands, but we have also heard jazz where it sounded like a competition rather than a compliment... these guys talk to each other & stay aware enough of each other that they just seem to know where they're going next.  Wilson's lead-in on "A Real Gypsy Word" has that flavor of "mideast" that you'd expect, but I found myself most attracted to his "Kaleidoscopic Visions", probably because (after the intro), it inspires images (for this listener) of gypsies dancin' in those little glass-bead thingies we all used to play with when were kids.  The tune clocks in at 20 minutes, so it's long, but with th' 'phones on - you won't GET any better jazz than this - it just ROCKS... truly universal jazz!   REBIRTH, in this iteration (as well as in others),   is a great band, with perfect timing & flawless execution throughout the CD.  It gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for fans of jazz the world over!    Contact at FMO Productions, POB 11682, Olympia, WA 98508-1682, or via the website at     Rotcod Zzaj

Bonnie Rideout - SCOTTISH REFLECTIONS:    Tho' I have a dollop of scots-blood somewhere in my past, I'm not as familiar as I'd like to be with their music.  Many of us (these days) live in that zone, I'm sure... well, if you're wanting to get familiar with the moods and emotions that make up the Scottish "experience" - there is no better place to start off!  We have listened to Bonnie's beautiful and high-spirited scottish fiddle before (see issue # 47), but she wasn't the feature artist on that album.  Dance, ballad and traditional compositions are all given her unique touch, and as the album title indicates, it is done with flair in a reflective state of mind.  She is a master at playing between , in and around the other instruments... I was especially impressed by her work with the harp on track 5, "Unst Bridal March".  Magic is a key element in her playing, even on the slower pieces!  When a player is able to communicate the tears and laughter of a life lived fully, your ears can sense the magic - Bonnie is such a player, and this an album that will thrill music lovers everywhere!  "Scottish Reflections" gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Timeless music, to be sure, that will make you hoist a pint or two in celebration of being alive!  Contact via the site at , or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Bruce & Lisa - GIFTS OF LOVE:    This CD features some beautiful compositions by a duo we've not heard before... they call it "love jazz", based on their strong love for each other (according to the liner notes).  Lisa's flute is prominent, with Bruce (& several other players) doing violin(s) & other strings over, under and around her.  They are certainly accomplished musicians, and the compositions will definitely tug at your heartstrings.  I don't believe there will be a lot of our readers who "dive in" to this music, though... while the tunes are sweet and display high talent, there isn't a terribly high energy quotient.  I don't mean to say it's "bad" music - it's NOT!  It does border awfully closely on the edges of "smooth jazz", though, & unless you're just in the mood for such, you'll find little here that is new.  Phrasings are completely complimentary... the compositions are (near) perfect... but, unfortunately, that relegates it (to my ears, anyway) to the "listen sometime" stack, rather than the "always play" few.  Still, it is pretty... some will enjoy it, others will listen once and move on to something more challenging.  Contact at POB 680728, fRANKLIN, tn 37068, or on their site at   Rotcod Zzaj

The Screwdrivers - THE SCREWDRIVERS:    A rawk-in lil' gem that our ears grooved on immediately!  First thought, somehow is that there are shades of Jethro Tull, tho' at a much more amplified state!   Epic high energy rock that will get your blood pumpin'!  What shines through, in both lyrics and playing, is all original energy!  Tho' they have leveraged the power of the Internet to promote themselves, their style comes across at a much higher level than garage-band!  Based in Conneticut, they are on a series of roadshows to promote their music & increase their fanbase (probably as I pen these words).  There are some beautiful "acoustic moments", but they are equally at home in power-rock territory (track 3, "Me On Top" - which is pretty much about what you think it's about)... those throbbin' guitars ride th' near-orgasmic wave just like th' real thang!  For a first shot, this is GREAT... I'm sure the art on their next CD will be a bit improved... but if (like me), it's th' energy of well composed rock music you're after... you'll agree when I declare this as HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at POB 135, Enfield, CT 06083, via e-mail to  or on their site at     Rotcod Zzaj

Bret Hart/Eric Wallack - DUETS, VOLUME ONE:   Some of the most seamless and attractive guitar/string based improvisation you will ever hear!  We have reviewed a lot of Bret's "DUETS" series CD's... this one really stands out - a clear winner!  Some of my opinion may be jaundiced by (just) having reviewed Eric's solo CD, "Vermis", & by my familiarity with Bret's own playing (he & I have been on a few albums, too) - but what really strikes me as I listen to this is the hearkening back to my earliest listening to Hart's solo guitar works!  The creativity flows so easily from his brain to/through his fingers that the average listener will feel like it's some kind of assault... & these guys sound like maybe they're blood relatives... I mean, they just understand where the moves are taking them, as though it was a family gathering.  When I first met Bret, he talked (muchly) of how important he felt it is to keep improvised music(s) non-linear... that if you truly want spontaneity, you must drop all  preconceived notions.  My favorite track, actually, was "Dick Brautigan", on which Eric plays pocket trumpet in truly iconoclastic fashion... you'll think th' ghost of Miles has been floatin' 'round in Eric's pocket!   There is, in my ears, no better example of spontaneous guitar playing than this (particular) "DUETS" CD.  Like I said, these players are made for each other, & their clear love of creative playing just shines through!  If you are thirsting for something that will create new (sonic) horizons for you - this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED... it also gets the "PICK" of this issue for "best creative guitar improvisation"!!!   Contact at Instrumentales, 428 Patrick Street, Eden, NC, 27288, or via e-mail to or    Rotcod Zzaj

David Barela - ROMANTIC PIANO:    This is our first listen to David's enchanting keyboard work (there was another CD in the package that will be reviewed in a future issue).  Nearly 73 minutes of sensitive and well balanced piano that will put you in a frame of mind that allows you to deal (much better) with the terrors that abound in our world today.  I wonder what would happen if one were able to sit George Bush and Osama Bin Laden down in a room together to listen to the calm expressed through Mr. Barela's fingers... we are all entitled to dreams, I guess... and if yours are inclined towards peace and harmony, you will be exceedingly glad you got this album.  The music is not (at all) syrupy new age with no heart or soul... David uses his keyboards to paint portraits of emotions that we all feel at one time or another... never hurried, never rushed, but with appropriate bursts of energy throughout the CD.  I am highly impressed - you will be, too!  This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for lovers of beauty in music the world over.   Contact at POB 81062, Seattle, WA 98108-1062, via e-mail to or on the site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Jim Ryan - FORWARD ENERGY:    We reviewed Jim Ryan's CD, "The Left Coast Improv Group" in issue # 50.  I can't help but be reminded of some of the highest-energy sessions I've heard my friend Wally Shoup play in... Jim's sax (along with Alicia Mangan's) is TOP of th' line!  The recording captures ev'ry little nook & cranny, and th' energies being shaped here will transport you (as the players intended, I'm sure) to someplace you've never heard before.  The group also features Scott R. Looney on e-piano, Donald Robinson on (scorching) drums & Damon Smith on doublebass.  Like any good straight-ahead live improv session, it starts in th' middle of a journey (I mean, this zugger takes right off!), & doesn't QUIT!  This is far more than just a "jam band", tho'... if you've ever heard folks like Bert Wilson, Jeffrey Morgan, or Jack Wright - you'll know what I mean.  I'm highly impressed, & these days (as I get grumpier & more "curmudgeonly"... heh! heh!), that takes a lot!  We rate this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all lovers of exploratory/high-energy improvised jazz!   A GREAT album!  Contact at Jim Ryan, c/o Jimzeen, 550 24th St., Apt 1014, Oakland, CA 94612, or via email to   The CD is (also) available for at EDGETONE RECORDS.     Rotcod Zzaj

Ken Hyder/Bret Hart - DUETS, VOLUME ONE:    I know (from my own collaborative experiences) that there seem to be "phases" in an improvisors' works, where energy quotients on (nearly) all their productions are at a peak!  Gourd knows that this cyclic nature of art makes for some VERY depressing moments when the creative urges are at an ebb... but the Hyder/Hart team are at a zenith stage on this CD!  Actually, if mem'ry serves me correctly, I don't think I've heard Bret improvising against a percussionist al that frequently... but this guy Ken is a killah... & Bret, true to form, has no qualms about takin' th' plunge & experimenting in/around/over/under Hyder's source tracks.  There are some reviewers who tend to write this kind of experimentation up as something that "anybody with a washboard & a guitar" coulld do... & while that may be true (in one sense), it is pure balderdash with music like this duo is playing.  There is a certain "frame" that one's psyche must be in to produce music(s) this different from what our ears expect to hear... & even though I've listened to (about) a ton of Bret's "DUETS" series with various players, I am continuously surprised by the range of talent he & his collaborators exhibit.  I go all the way back (in my listening) to the '80's with Hart's creative works... there was a high-energy phase then - & there is REALLY one (like a vol-phroggin-KANO) erupting now.  Listeners who want to stay stuck in the "old fashioned" structures will detest this... but anyone with even a dollop of adventure in their blood will fall in love with this beautifully odd CD... I did... enough so that it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Contact through or at Ken's site...     Rotcod Zzaj

Farzad - MIRROR OF EMOTIONS:    Farzad' Khozein's violin work on this grand CD is both inspiring and heart-lifting!  If more of us could look in this mirror and come away feeling even half as whole as his music makes you feel, the world would be much closer to living together in harmony.  It is clear that his classical training/roots have much to do with his ability, but it is even more evident that he understands the true power that music can have as a healing force for the spirit.  The compositions are all original and full of energy that is unbounded!  Farzad is joined by Tommy Wells on drums, Craig Nelson on bass and Louie Shelton on acoustic and electric guitars.  He is able to cross genres with ease, and make it sound effortless, so you get a real listening treat... each song is it's own... no tired cliches or worn-out riffs.  This is some of the most heartfelt music I have ever listened to, and I have listened to a lot...when a player sees reflections like this in his musical mirror, the listener is clearly the winner.  Even on the pieces with classical leanings, there is an almost spiritual energy that will make every man/woman hear the full range of their emotions & let them flower.  This album should be required listening in schools around the world... if it were, we would have a planet that reflected joy and love, instead of hate and dissent.  A simply wonderful album that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us... along with the "PICK" of this issue for "most inspiring music".  Contact at POB 67592, Albuquerque, NM 87193, via e-mail to  or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Phil Niblock - YPGPN:    Phil's compositions are based on drones... for some listeners, that will be a challenge they can not meet.  There is significant layering going on here, in fact that is really the attraction for the serious listener.  This double-CD set contains 7 pieces that make for very interesting listening... but that is the keyword... listening.   Unless you are in a meditational state of mind, you won't find any of the traditional hooks, or anything "regular" to grasp on to.  I found it a bit difficult to sit through both CD's at once... I would recommend scheduling two sittings.   & each listen should be uninterrupted, so that you can focus totally on what he is really doing.  A flavor of the industrial will greet you, in a subtle fashion.  I wouldn't recommend this for the average listener, because they would never have the patience required... but for those who groove on long sustained tones, this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  It is a different kind of music, especially in the sense of layering... that was it's main attraction for my ears... you'll find something different each time you listen through it.  Contact at XI Records, POB 1754, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013, via ee-mail to or on the site at     Rotcod Zzaj

Klarc Qent - KLARC QENT:    If yer' looking for a dose of the odd, & definitely the experimental, in your listening... you will not want to pass this up.  I am reminded, in some ways, of a CD I did with Ken Fletcher some years back (UU UU .calm), but this guy takes things about 1000 steps further.  It is extremely well-recorded, & doesn't compromise, even for a second.  Klarc is from Cincinnati, & far zanier than any wacked-out "left coast" group you've ever heard.  Over the sound snippets he weaves a bit of electric/acoustic guitars, bass & various percussives.  Since he's so close to Columbus, I would love to hear what would come out of a session between my poet friend John M. Bennett & Mr. Qent... I have a feeling they would sound wonderful together.  Don't expect anything... because you'll never hear anything you'd expect on this strange album.  It's definitely "adult listening" & would be slapped immediately with XXX (or 666, maybe?).    Is it music?  Doiubtful.  Is it interesting?  You BETCHUM!   How would I recommend it?  MOST HIGHLY, for all & any listeners who want to listen to somethin' they've NEVER HEARD before... for all others - forGET IT!   Contact at POB 58674, Cincinnati, OH 45258, or via e-mail to   (or   Rotcod Zzaj

Laird Jackson - TOUCHED:    Just released on October 1st, 2002, Jackson's CD is jazz vocalization with the appropriate oomph!!!  The beauty of this album (for this listener, anyway), is that over half the tunes are Laird's originals.  Her vocals are not (after any fashion) syrupy jazz... there is a real feeling of soul conveyed on each cut, & her talent just shines through.  There is also great balance between the instruments and her vocals, so that you are left feeling as though you were right there listening to her!  Joy & love of life are both part of the message she projects, & you will leave the session with a brightness you didn't sit down with (no matter how good yer' feeling).  Though this is our first listen to Ms. Jackson, we are highly enough impressed that we will beg the promoter to send us every new release Laird makes!  This isn't "smooth" stuff, even though it is beautifully executed... it has verve & pizazz!  I rate it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & also declare it the "PICK" of this issue for "best creative jazz" album!  GREAT music!  Contact via e-mail to or on the site at  Rotcod Zzaj

Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Chris Forsyth - MARCH:    There is a radical difference in the compositions by this duo on their third CD release together... this recording features more "silence" than noise.  For those listeners unaccustomed to improvised music, it will be a trip into sonic confusion & (probably) a large ? will appear (perplexedly) near the middle of their foreheads... heh! heh!  This is decidedly not the type of music you would choose as background for your next garden party... but, in the sense of string improvisation, it is an astonishing aural experience.  Ernesto once again explores some unique vocal territories, expanding his range(s) and creating new dreams for the listener.   You will also find a bit of piano (Ernesto is a highly accomplished keyboard player, too), and some calm stretches on their sketches together.  The thing that impresses one who gives this a serious listen is that they are growing together... not like "fused at the hip", but definitely more aware of each other & where their journey is leading them.  For those who love improvised music that is able to use quiet stretches to reinforce the moment, this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  It is a very interesting experience!  Contact through PAX Recordings, at POB 591138, San Francisco, CA 94159-1138, via e-mail to   or on the site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Rick Ray - MANIPULATED D.N.A.:    If it's high-flyin' guitar-rawkin' you want, with crystal-clear intent, you will HAVE to get this CD from Rick's humongous catalog!  You may think yer' hearin' th' ghost of Robin Trower (if yer' ears go back that far), but I can assure you it's really Rick.  We reviewed his "Guitarsonist" album in issue # 58, & were mightily impressed... we are no less amazed on his "D.N.A." album.  It's not just that he's rhythmically flawless, or that his soaring guitar(s) will scorch indelible patterns on th' left-side of yer' brain... or, that he's got a lyrical gift that will keep yer' attention without the aid of chemicals... it is, mostly, his unbounded energy for th' music & th' playing thereof.  Those fixated on hard-ridin' road music will definitely want this jammin' on their CD player as they cruise on down thee ro-ad.  He tells little mini-stories in each of th' lyrically based tunes, & some of 'em (particularly th' title track) are quite scary... I'm not sure I agree with him that "science is the enemy"... but, he makes it (surely) clear that there is a machine out there that is intent on mind-bending & destruction of the human spirit (after sending Rick the advance copy of this review, he came back with the following clarification on the "science is the enemy" song line... "As for "science is the enemy", it's meant as "Man's knowledge of science" - for example: Let's see how much we can mess with God's creations -  the food chain of which some foods will now grow their own pesticides that we can't wash off, we ingest it, oil eating bacteria (of which they have no idea what happens to it after it eats the oil), manipulation of the human body that is used to make sure the people end up back in the medical community $$$ etc... ...the gov't funded genome project itself is into the destruction of man starting w/America. That's what the title track was about."... that really clarifies the intent of that line, for me anyway... & so NOW, I can say that I AGREE with Rick on this issue).  Listening to Rick's compositions, thouugh, will be a revealing experience, any way you hear it... lyrically, song-wise or just for pure rawk!  This CD gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from our ears, 'specially for those who want to hear the truth!  Contact him on his site via email to  or snail to Neurosis Records, 20301 Ball Ave. Euclid, OH 44123!! & do it TODAY!!!!      Rotcod Zzaj

Khoury/Shearer/Hall - INSIGNIA:    I had the good fortune to watch these gents live at Entropy Studios, where much of this was recorded.  Shearer's improvised sax is crystal clear, as it often was when I listened to them at Entropy.  The recording also features some great violin work by Mike Khoury, & very well-recorded drums by Ben Hall.  The trio was instrumental in keeping th' "scene" going, through Entropy, but it's very apparent from listening to this CD that their true love & passion was (and is) devoted to pumping out improvised musics just brimming with creative energy.  VERY clear production makes for a listening experience far above average for the genre.  I rate this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those listeners who want a little bit of "surprise" in their aural experience; there is nothing "conventional" or "normal" here.  Contact via e-mail to  or on the site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Arte Biglips/Blind Pineapple Phillips - BEATING THE DEVIL'S FIDDLE/WELCOME TO EDEN.:    There's no doubt in your mind, as you listen to this collection of "collaborative soundscapes", that Eden was a pretty spooky place... no wonder Eve decided to suck down some o' those apples.  A highly evocative and atmospheric listening experience that will awaken the primal in you, verzure.  There are sections where the "garden" is a bit more industrial than I might have imagined, but "I Feel 'dis Way 'bout It" (on the "Welcome To Eden" side) spins the tale with a little more B.P.P. urban influence - definitely a blooz-y thang.  Strange meanderings from our long-time pals at "Hipworks" studios, to be sure.  Will it make it into th' "top 40" lineup?  Doubtful.  Will it fall somewhere in betwixt th' "purely experimental" & "ambient" stax?  More'n likely, for most listeners.  The (overall) experience gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!   Contact at Instrumentales, 428 Patrick Street, Eden, NC, 27288, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Paul Cardall - MIRACLES:    With the Christmas season coming soon, you will want, no doubt, to come up with a unique and joyous album for your family to share in.  Mr. Cardall's inspirational piano playing and compositional wonders will provide the peaceful environment(s) and respite you want for the season.  This is far more than "just another piano album", too... heavy orchestrals, beautiful string arrangements and carefully chosen choral sections all blend to remind you that hope is alive and well in the ears/minds of people who have learned that beauty is a gift we should appreciate in whatever form it is presented.  A wonderful album to share with your family... in fact, why not invite others in your neighborhood to come and sit in your parlor for an hour or two... you could give them no better gift than the calm and joy this fantastic CD will bring to their ears.  There is no improvisation here, but it still receives a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact through the sites at  or    Rotcod Zzaj

Yu Nishibori/Landon Thorpe - MUNO RADIATON:  Talk about experimental... East doesn't just meet West on this CD... it nearly overpowers it with the force of static guitar, acoustic strings & percussion... I am reminded of some of the improvised comps I've heard from Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Chris Forsyth, tho' the music on this CD is much more prone to the integration of loops & sample effects.  Many listeners will be unable to sit still for the entire performance, as there is an undercurrent of tones/static that can be somewhat disorienting (just what th' players intended, I believe).  "Muno" isn't "comfortable" music for parlour listening, but if you want to grasp the full effect of their improvisations, it WILL be necessary to experience it with your headphones on!  A very interesting diversion, & definitely a part of today's "move into strange turf" musical environment.  Despite the fact that some listeners will freak when they first hear it, I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!   Contact via e-mail to   or on the site at     Rotcod Zzaj

Bob Falesch - DYSLEXIUS 5:    Bob sent these little 3inch CD's our way early in 2002, & because of all our moving 'round this year, we are just getting 'round to listening.  's a good thing they didn't get "lost in th' moves".  #5 is strangely calming, even though it is certainly s-t-r-a-n-g-e!  Electronic percussives & bell-sounding thangs provide click&clack images with tons of space for the listener to paint images in.  Sections are based on (what sounds like) a D.J. "scratch mo-chine", but it turns out to be more like electro-prov.  The music is definitely not anything you've heard before, & that makes it come out HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener who wants to escape the drudgery of music that is "the same all over".  About 20 minutes of unadulterated (musical) heresy, I'd say - hoo-RAY!   Contact via e-mail to     Short album, ergo short review.  Rotcod Zzaj

Left Coast Improv Group - APRIL/MAY 2002:    We reviewed the first recording by this group in issue # 50... they have since added two players, Ron Heglin on trombone/vox & multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hobbes on violin, ,cornet & alto clarinet.  Scott R. Looney recorded this improvised session, which is (in a strange way) quite relaxing.  I say strange, because if your ears are not accustomed to music that is full of freedom & unrestricted in approach, that is probably how you will view it.  Nevertheless, it will hold your interest!   Sounds flit back and forth, odd percussives intrude & just when you thought you grokked it - it moves in another direction.  One of the most interesting pieces, for me, was Bob Marsh's idea piece, "Spontaneous Audio Bios", on which each group member speaks their bio (spontaneously, natch), with the other players improvising behind them... it creates an atmospheric not often found on an improvised album of this calibre... almost like you're in their living room (which, in a way, you ARE).  There are actually several other concept pieces on the album, furnished by each of the players, per leader Jim Ryan's request.  A truly unique improvised CD that gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating.  WAY cool improv, people!   Contact through PAX Recordings, at POB 591138, San Francisco, CA 94159-1138, via e-mail to   or on the site at  Rotcod Zzaj

Rob Denunzio - WINDOW MUSIC:    This is (believe it or not) our first listen to Rob's extremely interesting and different improvised guitar works.  The CD came to us in a thick stack of releases from the "Public Eyesore" label.  There is a lot of "open" space on each of the songs... Denunzio knows how to use the space well, & the listener will find themselves attracted (in many passages) because of the gap... it puts one in a very relaxed state of mind, & readies you for being inspired.   He has a full-bodied touch on his strings that I really dig, no weak-minded strumming here.  Rob uses jazz/blues chords most effectively, even in th' middle of a folk-sounding piece like track 5, "tinroof"... he's also got some strange sounds (like pebbles being dropped across - what else - a TIN ROOF) that enhance the listen.   Lovers of improvised/creative music everywhere will agree, without doubt, when I declare this to be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  If your ears are tuned (only) to the "norm", you will find this may make you uncomfortable... but readers of THIS 'zine are prob'ly more inclined to be looking for something new, anyway.  Contact via e-mail to  or on the site at     Rotcod Zzaj

Guideline for artists SUBMITTING to us:  We do NOT generally review .mp3 files/sites.  Being an active artist myself, though, I understand the need for the use of Internet sites as a "staging ground" for reviews!  You are encouraged to email us your .mp3 links... we will visit the site/link, & if we like your energies, we will contact YOU!  (We will NOT respond to followup inquiries about .mp3 files, though!!!)

ON that note - please go & sample some of OUR .mp3 files (we can USE SOME HITS, PLEASE)... just CLICK on the BAND NAME to listen to our FULL-SONG   samples - we NEED your HITS to RAMP these toons on up th' CHARTS, so please BANG thee KRAP-OLA out of 'em...:

PLEASE VISIT our SAMPLES page to listen to FULL-SONG samples... then tell ALL your friends about our fantastic variety of improvised and spontaneous music(s)!!!!!!!!


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