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Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 25


Brought to you by: Zzaj Productions

D. Metcalf, 5308 65th Ave. SE, Lacey, WA 98513 



John T. Baker

Dave Fuglewicz


Hitting Birth Family Circus

The Renfields

"The NIGHT OF THE BEAR" (th' continuing adventures of Kramtones & Zzaj)

Ed Chang

Gene Williams

Polly Moller

Jean-Luc Ponty



& much MUCH more!!!



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After much soul-searching (& not just a few conversations with many of you), I've decided to keep th' paper version of "I.N." going, at least until next year. I'm still edging towards making it web-based, & will probably be putting (many future) issues up on the web. Subscriptions are way down (probably in great part because of several issues BEING up on my pages), but there are still many (particularly of the artists/poets who contribute so much to this 'zine) who are not on the WWW at ALL! Any others you know who might (still) be interested in subscribing to the paper version should BE referred to us. The more subscriptions I have, the more valid keeping the paper version alive will be!

Also, you should encourage those who ARE producing music (& short poetry pieces) to SUBMIT their material to us for review. I'm finding EVER more CD's in th' ol' mail slot, & while MUCH of the music on them is GREAT, it still pulls away from that cassette culture "thang" that this magazine was started for. Th' "big guys" would like NOTHING better than having you all roll over to CD format... I still think (along with many MANY others) that the cassette medium offers SO much more freedom & puts th' record companies at OUR mercy! So TALK to those others y'all know out there who are still DOING cassettes, & TELL 'em to SNAIL that stuph on IN here - PLEASE?

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John T. Baker: PADDLEBOAT - We first heard/reviewed John's excellent work about 3 issues (or so) ago. I liked it then & I LOVE it now! Folk-rock with GUTZ! Some o' yer' out there sayin', "isn't this an "improv" 'zine?" Well, th' answer to that is a flat-out NO! We write about ALL genres of th' music(s) that th' "people" are playin', since that's where th' REAL music is! & nuthin' proves that more poignantly than Baker's work here! Fifteen hand-crafted pieces from th' "heart"-land. Th' bass lickz on this outing seem much more SOLID, pieces that have had a bit more "time" to mature. Tho' itz' still a 4-trakker, this is a much more "group-oriented" tape than "Itchy Scalp Theater". Revives th' spirit, I'll TELL ya', volkz! This one comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those wanting to listen to evolving musical rebirths! Contact at Ivey DeMilo Recordings, 1624 Pine Valley Rd., Little Rock, AR, 72207, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Dave Fuglewicz: ORANGE MIST SUNRISE - Now, HERE is a player that's D.I.Y. alla' phroggin' WAY, people! Even got a guest shot (on th' title trak) by our wild guitar-playin' pal, Mr. Painful. This 2-tape set (C-60's) is DEFINITELY among th' best efforts I've heard from Dave's wide range. Heavy, HEAVY synth & percz, with a "strange" musical sensibility creepin' thru! Fast-paced, no "laggardly" repetitive looping here (to bore yer' ter' tearz). I had th' pleasure of playin' with Dave this year (Journey To Reality, Zzaj Productions, 1996), but not at light-speed like this! If you've recently departed (somethin' like) th' "Betty Ford" clinic, & need a SUB fer' alla' that krank you were pollutin' yer' blood with - GET THIS! A genuinely FANTASTIC ride through territories seldom heard, but HIGHLY inspired. Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th' Zzaj! Contact at POB 48191, Doraville, GA 30362 Rotcod Zzahj

Burnt Colonels: MALICE AFORETHOUGHT - These Colonels are FAR from th' ones I worked with in th' military - in fact, they'd've prob'ly had me JAILED fer' listenin' to this! Too disruptive! Some HEAVY metal, in from this Toronto-based group! Metal & PROUD of it, 'ccordin' to th' liner notes! As well they should be... th' focus is on th' GUITARZ, where it should be! Unless yer' DEAD awready, you'll be ROCKIN' with this! Th' (really) GOOD thing is that they don't innundate you with a ton o' lyrical head-banging... th' drums/guitars are right out there at th' FRONT! Insofar as this genre can be "refreshing", it IS! Of course, there is a bit o' that "screaming" inherent in th' form, but as I said, their forte is high-energy guitar riffing that'll get yer' blood MOVING! Hell, e'en some of those DEAD ones may've joined in on this venture! Fer' th' diehard metal fan, this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at CP Succ 179 N.D.G., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4A 3P5, or via e-mail to  They also have a page at  Rotcod ZzaJ

Vasquez: VASQUEZ - Some change o' pace HERE! Back to th' roots. In from (one of our favorite promoters) Creative Service Company, this is both beautiful and haunting. Andrew Vasquez is from the Apache tribe, playing flute since the early '80's. Truly "Do It Yourself", as Andrew composes ALL of his pieces. His music will put you (almost immediately) in touch with what's missing from SO many lives today - the SPIRIT! No mystical hype, just pure playing that makes you know (in your soul of souls) that all the "inventions" (chemicals, bombs, factories, etc., etc., ad nauseum) of man are totally insignificant when compared to the reality of the "people". Sparse instrumentation (some WONDERFUL percussion), with Vasquez's flute at the forefront. Some of the most natural sweetness I've ever experienced. Not only is this music MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, it gets the "PICK" of this issue for "best natural music". Contact at Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Rotcod Zzaj

The Ken Ardley Playboys: ANYTHING TO BE FAMOUS b/w IS IT TRUE, VIC? - This 7"'er, in from Lucky Garage, came with a neat lil' "fanzine" on th' Playboys! Rockin' their sockzoff, but impossible to "classify". Certainly not "hard", "acid", or any o' those other descriptors - th' closest I can come is "avant-horn(y)-rock"! Lot o' word dynamics here, solid guitars shadowing over th' English drumbeatz, they're in a class by themselves, versure! EnJOYable, gets a RECOMMENDED! Check 'em out at 1448 Fernside Blvd., Alameda, CA 94501-3122, or via e-mail to   (alternate is ) Rotcod Zzaj

Windham Hill Occasional: SAMPLER CD - This is a promo CD in from this fabulous label. There's no better way to "advertise" than these kinds of samplers. 40 Tracks in all, representative (for SURE) of the diversity in the label. Most trax are full-blown, though a few have been edited down for length. I'm generally not a big fan of such mixups, but (as many of you out there know), this label's artists are ALL quality, all the way from George Wiuston to Ray Obiedo to Alex De Grassi; and since they've not edited the trax down to seconds, this is nearly as pleasant as the real thing. For anyone wanting a "preview" of Windham Hill's wonderful musics - GET THIS! RECOMMENDED for those wanting to "try before you buy". Contact at POB 9388, Stanford, CA 94309 (or call 1-800-888-8544) Rotcod Zzaj

Exposure: 'ZINE - If yer' a dyed-inna'-wool PROG fan, then you prob'ly already know about this STAND-UP 'zine for those in to th' genre! The one I just finished reading (all the way through) is th' WINTER '96 issue, # 9. 72 pages, just JAMMED with timely information, straightforward (& VERY knowledgeable) reviews, interviews (most notable this time 'round was the interview with Saga's Jim Crichton) & a particular "insight" in to the wondrous sounds & futuristic ideas that continue to pour forth from this facet of the world music community! It comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th' Zzaj! Contact at 6167 Jarvis Ave., # 150, Newark, CA 94560, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Hitting Birth Family Circus: DRIVE ON b/w King Black Acid & the Womb Star Orchestra: CATERPILLAR BLOOD - This 7" was (apparently) lost in th' shuffle (found it in a package in from Ruckus Records, whose JASPER CD was reviewed an issue or so back). Very much prog-oriented (on the KBA side). The first side (which got spun last, as th' 7" isn't very clearly labelled) had the Hitting Birth cut on it, much more in th' "metal mode". Both cutz are unique & distinctive, not just some rehashed "drivel". LIKED it, & if yer' into music that MOVES yer' blood, you'll wanna' check th' HITTING BIRTH side out! Daniel Riddle's heavy bass is th' foundation fer' this ride in to oblivion! Turnzout Daniel is also th' force behind KBA, tho' in a totally different style - put you into OUTER space! Both bands are FINE, though I think if I were to make a choice (for a live show, anyway), it'd be Hitting Birth that got th' pick! This IS, however, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, for anyone with a taste for TODAY'S music! Contact at POB 1804, Portland, OR 97207, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Drayfus Grayson: APARTMENT 17 - We reviewed another NYMPHONIC release a couple issues back, called Third From The Sun; Grayson's CD was in the package, but I was sorta' "overcrowded" for that issue, & wanted to do it justice! This is SUPERbly composed music, sort of electro-acoustic folk-rock - you know, make it fit ALLA' "classifications". As with much music submitted to "I.N." for review, though (I never have tried to figure out why, just leave it alone & let it happen), this is VERY original & can't be "stuck inna' hole". Which is the way is ('most ev'ry time) HAS to be, since Drayfus wrote both lyrics & music for all th' pieces; I mean, how can you FAIL when it's from the HEART!! High energy, GREAT dynamics (particularly between th' vox & th' guitars), an all-round ADVENTURE! Fer' those with a bit o' th' poet in 'em, this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; in fact, this gets the PICK of this issue for "most original originals". Contact at POB 838, Huntington Beach, CA 92648-0838, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

The Renfields: SOUNDS OF ROMANCE, SOUNDS OF HORROR - CD from Afterglo... th' Renfields are decidedly "midwest-oriented", whatever'n'l that means! Played all 'round Illinois & that section o' th' country. What I like most is that these rockin' lil' pieces are genuinely "homespun". Now, don't take that to mean that it SOUNDS bad, 'coz th' recording is CLEAN! Pretty standard rhythm licks, but a unique energy comes spilling through each & every one o' their pieces! 's a fun listen, tho' in a fairly "pop" vein, I'd say! Lead guitars stand out as th' more "experienced" part of th' band, & th' vox are pretty decent! Nice first-time listen, & we'll be lookin' for MORE, Renfields! Comes RECOMMENDED from th' Zzaj! One thing that WOULD be nice is to see a band credit list next time, volkz! Contact at 1935 S. Plum St., Suite 325, Palatine, IL 60067, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

John King: YARD STYLE - Reggae with a "jazz" twist? 'nother VERY interesting CD in from Mesa/Bluemoon, who have been sending a lot of Carribean-oriented music our way for review! Formerly performing under th' name of "Johhny Ma Boy", King sorta' "changed focus" 'round about '95, goin' (as th' liner notes say) for a reggae/dancehall kind o' sound! This sound is rather "new" to me, as it's not Marley-like "hardcore" reggae, rather a very gently swaying bump&push beat that quickly enchants you. Instrumentation came across as pretty "regular" for this type of music, though th' jazz element in the compz played REALLY well against his clean & clearly enunciated vox. I think THAT'S where his strength truly lies (& th' strength of th' whole CD, for that matter)... in the VOCALS! &, lest you wanna' be dis-miss-in him as "just 'nother rapper" - FO-get it! This is world-CLASS music. Keep it ON! For anyone with (even) a slight taste for music that MOVES, contact at 209 East Alameda Ave., Suite #101, Burbank, CA 91502 Rotcod Zzaj

Gerald Wilson: SUITE MEMORIES - This double-CD set puts you right IN (like, th' LIVING ROOM) with ancient jazz trumpet player, composer & arranger Wilson. In from Bobbi Marcus Public Relations, Inc., the project is under the auspices of the MAMA Foundation (Musical Archives, Musical Archives). It's a really interesting concept, as almost the entire experience is Gerald telling you the intimate details of his musical background. I mean, where he was born, when he first started playing, all the groups he played with, virtually EVERY aspect of his playing career, interspersed with bits & pieces from sets he was part of. One cautionary note... if you're expecting scads of Wilson's music, you may be disappointed, as the two CD's are primarily geared towards a history of his music, as told by him. There are only snatches of his playing. On the other hand, if (like me) you often wish you could hear th' "story" FROM th' players, this will be a REAL treat for your ears! I broke it up into two listenings, because trying to listen to both of them at th' same time would get a bit tiring. It reminded me a bit of sitting (in Huntsville), listening to an OLD Alabama (piano) player named Jerome Hopkins tell stories of a very similar nature. For the true connoisseur of jazz history, this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Zzaj. It's really enjoyable to just kick back with a brew & hear th' "inner workings" of a player, told in their own words. Contact at 1514 17th St., #205, Santa Monica, CA 90404, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Jim Horton: SIMULATED WINDS AND CRIES - This CD is Jim's creation, in it's entirety! All-electronic soundscapes, after a VERY surreal fashion. This does indeed sound like the "winds", but not on any desert WE know (here). Perhaps a transplant from some encounter of th' FOURTH kind! Weavewander fer' th' most experimental, sounds like all are on (good ol') ANALOG! All circa 1990 & '92, they are rather sort o' "timeless". For those who MUST have melody & rhythm, this will be an 'orrible experience. If you're TRULY "in" to "riding the soundwave", however (like yer' friendly editor iz), this will BE a ticket! Noise with character! Gets th' PICK of this issue for "MOST original ambience". Contact at Artifact Recordings, 1374 Francisco St., Berkeley, CA 94702, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Kathode Ray Music: FIGHT PRIME TIME - (At least) two of our favorite groups on this CD that captures MANY of "today's" sounds... Toddio & Gate 18. I'm generally not much in the mood for CD "compz", as they're often poorly meshed together, songwise! These volkz at Kathode Ray Music KNOW wot' they're doin', tho'... 's almost like a GOOD radio show, with a DJ spinnin' that has that 6th SENSE fer' what goes TOGETHER! &, this isn't any "lame" attempt (like so many o' those USENET newsgroup postings these days seem to be) to toss together a few groups for a profit! All-in-all, there are cutz from 19 groups on here, ALL of 'em quite interesting. More in a "rock/punk" vein than ambient, but a VERY enJOYable listen! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 872, University, MS 38677-0872, via e-mail to , or check out their WWW page(s) at  Rotcod Zzaj

Jonestown Press: MCCLINTIC SPHERE - In from Reno, Nevada (yeh, they really DO gamble down there, e'en with zoundz), Sean Winchester has put together some VERY unique sounding "cutups", ala th' style(s) of Jake Berry and/or John M. Bennett (in fact, this reminds me a GREAT deal of a tape Jake & I did in th' late '80's, called "Alien Tongues". This is all GREATLY enhanced by th' vocal ministrations of Bennett collaborator/co-conspirator Ficus Strangulensis. & th' BEAUTY of much of this izzat there's (even) some REAL music here. While it's not full-blown "orchestral chamber" music, the acoustic & electric guitars on this gem D.I.Y. tape have a great deal to say, & a quite satisfactory performance style, not just vocal dubz over poorly played musique! Adding Strangulensis (who Zzaj has collabed with frequently in th' "good old daze") was a stroke o' GENIUS! Even some tastes (tho' subtle) o' JAZZ on here! This is one of the COOLEST D.I.Y. tapes to come our way in ages! Without ANY (real) competition, this one gets the PICK of this issue for "best bent D.I.Y.". Some real talent here, & these volkz come MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th' Zzaj! Contact at POB 7237, Reno, NV 89510 Rotcod Zzaj

Glass Candle Grenade: GLASS CANDLE GRENADE - Yup, itz' TRUE! Atlanta iz goin' BACK to th' "H-O-T ol' dayz" o' yesteryear! This pop band just KICKZ, volkz! Trish Thompson's vox form a perfect mesh with th' fast-paced rockin' that proceeds with FUN at th' forefront! Th' guitarz have a "strange" sound, sorta' reminds me of pieces Robin Trower cut way back when! Well-mixed, & everyone is playin' TOGETHER! Trish has real GUTS, & will KNOCK yer' DOWN! We hear a LOT o' female vox over th' course of a year, & she stands out at th' top! Even if yer' DON'T (particularly) care for "pop" - you'll get a KICK out o' this one! Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED fer' that "down th' road" musical experience yer' been waitin' for. Contact at POB 48743, Atlanta, GA 30362, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Ed Chang/Blindfold: PICTURE SHOW - & now, it's back to wot we're all HERE for! GENUINE improvisational ARTISTRY! First got to meet Ed at an edition (June 1995) of his "Unsound Practices" series (down in Portland)... it was clear from that meeting that he KNOWS what this improv "thang" is all about! Well, th' CD shows that he knows how to PLAY it, too - from th' HEART! R-a-w jazz energy, caught in freeform, & pasted up fer' yer' earz ter' RELISH! There's a MONSTER in this CD, & it's ED! Those who are in love (aren't we all?) with th' freedom that improvisation can and does bring (not only in music, but in LIFESTYLE), will fall in LOVE with Chang's music on th' FIRST cut! A genuine blend of performance styles, & all th' players COMPLETELY together! As those of you who play in this freeform mode know, it often takes YEARS to get to this stage... too many times there's a sorta' "competition" that gnaws away at th' overall, & even though th' stated goal is "freedom" in th' playing, it begins (usually on each piece) to turn in to some kind of "grabitnow drill". None o' that here! This is THE best improv music I've heard in a YEAR! Certainly gets my vote as the PICK of '96 for "best improv". If you've never heard free-form before, THIS is the music to GET! This is a GREAT musical experience that will be a KEEPER for MANY years to come! Contact at 625 SW 10th Ave., 3.3B, Portland, OR 97205-2788, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Unit Circle Rekkids: NOCTURNE CONCRETE - Another of those compilation CD's... they ARE gettin' better at this, volkz! You've heard me complain before about so many of these compz being just "tossed" together, disparate & bands/genres TOTALLY at odds with each other. Well, UC has GOT it together! This journey, as yer' might 'magine from th' title is in th' HIGHLY ambient mode! Groups we've reviewed (and/or seen live, here in our fair city, like INTONARUMORI), are melded together to meet Kevin's stated goal of "seamless". Lifesaver Laboratories (reviewed in these pages only a couple issues back) is quite representative of the style(s), Tinty Music & a large group of others (who we'll be TRYING to get to submit to US) will put you in a future-frame! For those used to AM bubblegum, this won't be the ticket; but if your goal is the farthest reaches of musical exploration (even relaxation, at times), you'll just LOVE these electronic journeys! Knowin' th' Zzaj did! Most pieces feel quite "dense", but if you listen closely, th' secrets of th' universe may be revealed! This is wonderful exploratory music, & th' fact that it appears on a comp is a sure sign that "our" music is "coming of age". MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 20352, Seattle, WA 98102, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Gene Williams: WELCOME 2 MY WORLD - This CD, in from Gene, is evidence that th' "Funkadelics" have been REBORN! Th' phunk is (still) HERE , & bro' Gene's GOT it - DOWN, I mean, people! There's an element o' jazz in that funk that will take all us OLD hipsters back to th' glory days of Gil-Scot Heron (& if yer' an ol' hipster who was IN to th' '60's/'70's, you'll remember quite VIVIDLY some o' those hole-in-wall joints where ya' HEARD this kind of energy back then). Good lord, I'm surely HOPIN' that this is th' RAP o' tomorrow! 'coz it's got th' MUSIC in it! Gene plays keyboards, programs, samples & seems (from th' sounds issuin' forth) to have a unique understanding of where that poppin' backbeat NEEDS to go (particularly on th' TITLE toon, which is a SCORCHER)! 's got that NATURAL feel that any good funk/jazz just HAS to have to keep it movin'... yet reaches all th' way back to roots styles like that lil' shade o' Ramsey Lewis I hear on Gene's acoustic at times! Tasteful! Tasteful! This is SO good, I'm gonna' PITCH it, volkz! & those who read my reviews regularly know that I only do that for music that is REALLY hot! GET THIS ONE! Not only gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but gets th' PICK of this issue for best "original funk/jazz"! Contact at 116-40 204th St., St. Albans, NY 11412, at th' WWW site (, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Polly Moller: DEMO TAPE - If this is the demonstration, I (really) WANT to hear/observe the PERFORMANCE. Polly sent this package of tapes (three of them, actually), & I just happened to pull out this one first. You'll hear more (MUCH more) about her group, Oblivious Scientist, in later review(s). She is a WIZARD at putting you "in the mood" with her flute! First piece, "Skara Brae", does just that; setting you up for a most DRAMATIC mood shift on "Road Spiders"! Backed by some VERY energetic percussives, she twists/dances/turns you through a celebration of abandon. A vocal piece about those very spiders is intertwined most effectively (but not overbearingly). VERY professional effort that earns a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those who enjoy the new! Moller's music is fresh, & her spirit is infectious! GREAT! Contact at Silver Wheel Music, 482 View St., Mountain View, CA 94041, visit her WWW site at , or via e-mail to  Rotco d Zzaj

Jean-Luc Ponty: LE VOYAGE - My friends, this can't POSSIBLY be a "fair" review... I've been in love with Ponty's so sweet jazz violin EVER since it came wafting down th' ether trails, so many years ago. This double-CD set is released by Rhino Records, & they've put one MONSTER collection together! Thirty-two CLASSIC pieces that will have you soaring! There's no need for me to "critique" this music, only to say that artists like Jean-Luc Ponty are LIGHT YEARS (& seem to HAVE been - for light years) ahead of their contemporaries! The moods conveyed herein will have you (literally) SOARING to new heights! If you've never heard his music(s), you're in for a tasty treat! There can be NO MORE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED accolades than Le Voyage deserves! Captures the spirit of freedom and love and infects you with it! GET THIS ONE! Contact via Bobbi Marcus Productions at 1514 17th St., #205, Santa Monica, CA 90404, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Silber Records: ALLEVIATION - Here's 'nother comp CD, in from Eilethyia Records, who I assume were referred by "Half-Baked" records (whose Pineal Ventana CD was reviewed last issue)... referral or not, there are some MOST interesting cuts on here, definitely after a "current wave" fashion... you know, not "new wave", not "punk" - in fact, nearly all the groups are in an "unclassifiable" zone! Which is GOOD, as my ears are SO tired of th' "same old"! 'bout th' closest I can come is "intergalactic orchestral"... some VERY dense pieces; one of my FAVORITE pieces was "What Is Gone Is Gone", by "The Unquiet Void" - deep, but not dark! Some, I suppose, would lump this in with "ambient" collections... but, that's only for reviewers who don't LISTEN to th' whole! This is a VERY good collection for any o' you volkz who are interested in where music is GOING, & where originality can TAKE you! Fresh new pieces to stimulate yer' braincells! Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from th' Zzaj! Contact Martin, c/o Eilethyia Records, POB 97902, Raleigh, NC 27624, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Suzanne Ciani: PIANISSIMO II - This CD is a coninutation of the SPLENDID piano work that Suzanne does. She was last reviewed in these pages in issue # 21, for DREAM SUITE. With "contemporary" piano artists, there's often a tendency to get "bogged" in certain patterns that make the listener begin to wonder if there's anything "new" coming from the artist. Suzanne has done a WONDERFUL job of avoiding such "cliche" playing. Even the (one or two) pieces I'd heard her play (on synths) before came across with a new vitality & fresh energy. This is one AMAZINGLY sensitive player. This is the kind of playing that puts one in the musical "history books". We just LOVE her playing & know that many of you will too! Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer, for SURE! Contact at 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918, or through her own production company (run by her husband, I believe), Seventh Wave, at 20 Sunnyside Ave., Suite A-197, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (or e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Mother Funk: THE ILLUSION OF BIGNESS - Must be FUNK month h'yar at ZP! In from guitar player Scott Williams, this is one MOVING, bass-driven funkadventure! Lotta' bouncin', & a high-energy sprint fer' those who like to SHAKE that thang! Actually, it's an odd sorta' structure, as th' basis IS funk, but th' vox/lyrics remind me (albeit slightly) of Grand Funk Railroad! Clean recording, bright gitarz, & sumdrumz that jus' WON'T quit! This is that ol' "movin' on down th' road" music I love to "choogle" to! Looks (from th' inserts) like a very much "home-produced" effort, & comes off REALLY smooth for such! While this won't be a mainstay for many of our readers, it CERTAINLY gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from th' Zzaj! We ALL need to get LOOSE once in a while, & THIS is th' music to do THAT to, verzure! Contact via e-mail at , or visit their page(s) at  Rotcod Zzaj

Michael Hogan: NO STRANGER TO DANGER - Here's some FRESH rockin' music by a GENUINE independent. So many o' these volkz proclaimin' to be D.I.Y. these days... well, Michael's got that wrapped HANDS DOWN... except for 2 toonz (outta' 8 total), Michael's (apparently) playin' EVERYTHING, doin' th' vox... tell ya' ONE thang, volkz... this boy's GOT th' phroggin' music IN him (& all 'ROUND him, fer' that matter)! What REALLY stands out are his lead guitar & his VOCALS! You know, there are just SO many guitars out there, but he just WRINGS th' emotion outta' those strings. Hails from down Texas way, where (despite what some might say) a LOT o' hot rockerz have come from! Nice combination of styles, too... not stuck in ANY rutz! Shades o' Allman creep through at times, then I hear pieces o' SRV on some o' those leadz! This is NOT "stock" playing, formula-based crap without guts... it's GENUINE, & gets (without doubt) a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED... in FACT, it gets th' PICK of this issue for "best rockin' kickazz". If yer' like music that reaches WAY down deep, GET this! Contact at 4604 Barwick Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76132, or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

Th' NIGHT o' th' BEAR

My long-time musical partner Kramtones (known in some circz as Harlan Mark Vale) and I recently took an excursion down Portland way... we'd been in touch with one Ed Chang (who appeared at this year's EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC FEST), & he was tellin' us about his continuing series, called "Unsound Practices". Some other contacts with Portland musicians had been made, & (since th' wife was out of town on vacation) it seemed time fer' th' "mouse ter' come out"! As it turned out, th' MOUSE turned out to be a 500 pound BLACK BEAR - but, more about that later!

Kram & I hooked up at my work building, in a lil' town (just south o' OlyWa) called Eatonville. We kruised on down to Portland th' "back way", listening to several taped pieces from past & present. When we got in to downtown Portland, they were just "settin' up"! Th' lineup was fresh & new (to us, anyway), & th' venue (the Original Music Showcase, right in downtown Portland) was one of th' best spaces we'd seen in YEARS (really laid back & with a TOTALLY open atmosphere; in fact, it was SO NICE a place that Kram & I will be PLAYING there on the 3rd of September).

First up was Twayne Williams, under the group name of "The Darsen Trio" (never quite figured out where th' "group" name thing came from, but it mattered not a whit). Twayne's music started off quite slowly, albeit loudly. Th' solo guitar was (by the end of th' somewhat extended piece) intricately detailed and required much attention. He reached inside each section & nailed down pieces of sonic turf hitherto UNEXPLORED. One of th' REALLY neat things was th' sense of intimacy established (almost immediately) with th' audience. Low lights helped greatly to establish this rapport, & (aside from a couple of stretches that were a bit "hyper"), this was one of the tastiest guitar morsels I've heard in a LONG time!

While waiting for th' next act, , I wandered back & talked with th' owner about how long they'd been in operation (8 months, I think he said, relatively new on th' scene, but with a well-established following already, & a real sense of "community"), what kinds of music/art were performed there, & so forth... you know, th' usual questions! Talked with several of th' players (including Ed Chang, & th' guitar player who'd just perfomred). Kram & I were REALLY impressed with th' relaxed and open atmosphere these folks had going on there... VERY "accepting" of others, & quite interested in new things.

Next up was A Nat Hema, comprised of James Boring, David Lillegaard & Timothy. This act was HILARIOUS. Let's see... how to explain it best... keyboards, Boring on sound generation & a carrot-topped MANIAC passing a hat with lil' slips o' paper & various phrases on 'em... as each slip was called off, th' "band" would play a piece that sorta' took th' "mood" of th' phrase. One of 'em was a "lounge singer", so th' young lady who picked th' slip was asked to get up & simulate a "lounge singer". This was a SCREAM... then, th' "Jesus rap" song... & most memorably, th' "Conga Line", in which (virtually) EVERY member of th' audience joined in, marching out th' front door, & back in, all in rhythm (albeit somewhat "stilted")... their set ended with a TOTAL spoof of THEMSELVES, nearly all th' way back thru what they'd done during th' set! Tho' their "playing" was nowhere NEAR as "monstrous" as th' first act, th' sense of "fun" & "unpretentious" was overPOWERing! Would that some other cities' "scenes" could have this kind o' fun! Just GREAT!

Last on th' bill were th' Topiary Kings, with Larold Will on drums & Courtney von Drehle (accordion, tenor sax, guitar, effects, a very FITTING climax to a night of loose & free improv. Courtney was an absolute OUTRAGE, & Larold's drums provided EXCELLENT support for some heavy jazz-oriented pieces that still held th' "freedom" in playing we were all there for. These gents were THE act of th' night, at least for this reviewer! High-energy & a sense of the love of playing shone thru on all pieces! Some of us were AMAZED!

Now, one would think that enough excitement for an eve.... actually, they had a ram-jam get-together improv, but I had to ask Kram to drive me on home, as I was slated to work th' next morn... well, 't'was not to BE! Lookin' back, we can laugh at it now, but we were SHOCKED when, on th' very last leg o' th' trip back up from Portland, a 500 lb black BEAR shot right out in front of Kramtones; fortunately, he only dented up th' right side (of my BRAND-NEW '96 Toyota)... however, a copper was sittin' on th' side o' th' road, unbeknownst to us... when he saw Kram swerve to avoid th' bear, he JAMMED his foot down on th' accelerator (thinkin' he had himself 'nother DUI), running DEAD (har! har!) into th' bear. Last "improv" THAT bear would ever do! Lots o' bear steak fer' th' boyz over in Walla Walla, I reckon! & to ABSOLUTELY top it all off, you'll NEVER guess th' name o' th' repairman who handed me hiz card th' next mornin' at th' body shop - yup - JOE BEAR! Ne'er let it be sed that th' life of an improv nut (like myself) isn't filled with ADVENTURE!

Tommy Smith: BEASTS OF SCOTLAND - Just can't believe how diverse this Bobbi Marcus Public Relations, Inc is as an agent... have to get 'em to represent MY music(s), mebbe'... Tommy Smith is a PREMIER sax player, but so much more, in reality. There were 2 CD's in th' package, one totally instrumental, th' other from his original compz, based on th' inspiring poetry written/performed by Edwin Morgan! This is jazz to get EXCITED about, of th' "classic" variety, & not stodgy at ALL! When I was in Germany (many, many years ago), we looked to th' British for our "rock fix", never dreaming that cookin' jazz like this was just o'er th' waters! Smith has an energy that reaches right OUT & snatches you UP! Some would say relentless, but at th' same time, it's SWEET! There are few on a par with his compositional wizardry these days, & Tommy Smith comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by th' Zzaj! Contact at POB 23468, Nashville, TN 37202, or at th' agent, 1514 17th St., Suite # 205, Santa Monica, CA 90404, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Claire Martin: THE WAITING GAME - An absolutely FINE month fer' jazz, here at "I.N.". Here's another CD in from Bobbi Marcus, via Honest Entertainment Group. Crystal-clear vocals from Claire, on top of a simple (but stunning) 4 piece, this is COOL jazz! Her rendition of a Joni Mitchell piece, "Be Cool", takes Mitchell's original to another LEVEL! What's so nice about Martin's vocal work is that it has that "natural" flow (that so many lounge singers ATTEMPT, but never REACH)... & she does it as tho' it was second nature. Prob'ly IS,, people. Combine that with some EXCELLENT guitar work by Jim Mullen, & you've got some hoppin' toonz that'll go FAR in to th' 21st! This comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer! Contact at POB 23468, Nashville, TN 37202, or at th' agent, 1514 17th St., Suite # 205, Santa Monica, CA 90404 , or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Color Theory: SKETCHES IN GREY - Wow! Talk about D.I.Y! This is "all it can be". Th' CD is th' solo project of Brian Hazard, who says he wants to "nurture the sense of a personal, one-to-one relationship between myself and the listener". Well, folks, he connected IMMEDIATELY with THIS listener - & I know that those of you who make your OWN music will feel that same sense of deja vu (or whatever ya' wanna' call it). It's clear that Brian has delved deep in to his compositions to ensure that he touches you in th' deepest parts of yer' psyche, both vocally and instrumentally. He's an inspired performer and composer who is bound to "reach out & touch" all who encounter his wonderful music(s). His piano pieces are (in places) absolutely... well, HAUNTING! For those into th' beauty that's being produced by th' PEOPLE today (& NOT by th' B-I-G studios), this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (in fact, Brian, be SURE & send ALL your releases our way, eh?! I thoroughly enJOYed Color Theory, & know that many in our audience will, too! Contact at POB 241, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

K.D. Schmitz: WORDS IN MY MOUTH Now, HERE is a "change of pace" (fer' our long-time contributor, K.D., I mean). Th' last several tapes I've reviewed of his were much more in an experimental vein. In fact, this is th' first folk-oriented music I can recall hearing him do. As th' title would imply, very spoken-word (really, singing) directions. Acoustic guitar, impossible to tell who is doin' what, as th' j-sheet credits weren't terribly specific (tho' it's clear that there were several volkz involved, sending words, i.e., lyrics, to K.D., for which he wrote songs... there will be a followon tape in th' not too distant future, in which OTHER volkz perform th' lyrics you'll hear on THIS tape! Write to him for more detail). Lyrically, this is an adventure... musically, I think I prefer some of his earlier tapes. Oh, it makes a nice listen allright, but you've GOT to be in that "folk" mood! Despite K.D.'s liner-note claim that it's "lo-fi", th' acoustic really comes thru quite clearly. For those in to hearing one of today's PRIME D.I.Y.'er's "trying on new shoes", & who like a lil' acoustic folk/blooz with their cappucino inna' mornin', this is RECOMMENDED! K.D. also sent along a whole BUNCH of his neat lil' pamphlets (it's a series, called "Ten Thousand Things), up through # 15 (which includes some o' th' lyrics from th' tape, nice to follow along with, & sorta' tells th' story of th' project). Th' "TTT" series is very interesting, sort of a "personalzine" kinda' thing, & would CERTAINLY be of interest to poets/musicians alike! All in all, another fine effort from one of th' "true" do-it-yerselfers on th' scene today! Contact at POB 1806, Poughskeepie, NY 12601 Rotcod Zzaj

Big Beef Productions: REAL LULU/PURE PLASTIC TREE - Those who've been 'round this 'zine for some years now may (well) remember my somewhat enthusiastic reviews of efforts put out by Andy Valeri's BBP. Well, what a pleasant surprise it was to get an e-mail in from Andy (after he'd stumbled on my new web page(s) - at )! He's still big in to th' music side o' production, & this tape of BBP's CD releases were way kewl, too! "Real Lulu" is uncompromising "grrrll" stuph... kick-butt rockin', tho' somewhat "formula". Th' thing that saves (or condemns) these kinds o' bandz is their ENERGY level, & "Lulu" have light-years o' that! Wanna' get yer' blood PUMPIN'? GET th' CD! Th' flipside, with "Pure Plastic Tree" is slightly more "punk" in nature, but unique in that they're all acoustic. Playing with this humongous amount of vibrancy in th' punk style (& at th' same time, acoustically - hard to BELIEVE, but itz' REAL) takes some TALENT! Both are Ohio bands, with a decided "edge" up on th' competition (of which there's aplenty these days). BBP has "scored" again (for price info, & such, check in at )! Keep ON sendin' that fine stuph in here, Andy! Fer' th' "punk" oriented in our readership, this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Way KEWL stuph ta' rock on with! Contact at POB 303 WBB, Dayton, OH 45409 Rotcod Zzaj

The Merigars: LANGUAGE OF NOW - Here's a tape in from John Sosnowski (of Broca's Area)... how wonderful & amazing this D.I.Y. "world" is! Th' tape we collabed on, "Wrought Iron Muffin Ranch" - 1994, was entirely instrumental. "Language" has (as th' title might imply) much spoken-word on top of some eerie instrumental sections (some sounding like they were hand-made for "The X Files"), none in th' least bit "stock" or "ordinary". Joshua Peck does the words, VERY effectively! John & Mike Delaney have outdone themselves on th' instrumentation this time 'round! Peck's lyrical style seems to "float" in & out of musical moods both somber & soaring! This tape is not only a KEEPER (& ULTIMATELY RECOMMENDED for th' followers of where this D.I.Y. adventure is leading us), it also gets th' PICK of this issue for "best spoken-word/instrumental musicdrama". Just a GREAT tape... contact at 1819 N. 5TH ST, APT G-116, NILES, MI 49120 Rotcod Zzaj

Bob Weisenberg: AMERICAN GYPSY - If you love flamenco guitar, this CD (in from Creative Services Company, th' promotional agent) will capture you immediately. There's no doubt that he possesses more dexterity than many artists on the scene, as this form of playing is MUCH more difficult than "strummin' & hummin'"... what shines through most eminently, though, is his enJOYment & love of playing. Makes no difference what form music takes, if that kind of devotion comes through as clearly as it does on this debut album, it will wrap the listener in charm almost immediately. Though my travels in Europe never took me to Spain (now I wish they HAD), I can feel th' "gypsy" in MY blood as I listen to this high-steppin' musical plum. If you've seldom listened to "other" musical forms, you're in for a real TREAT here, volkz! Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer. Contact at Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Rotcod Zzaj

Trance Lucid: ARISE - Th' header on th' promo sheet bills this as "enchanted instrumental music", while other references are made to a "new" form of "new age". I'll tell you one thing, this is some VERY unique music, no matter what you call it! Elements of fusion, straight jazz, new age & alla' th' 'bove are blended (at times with some degree of ferocity) to yield an extremely enjoyable mix! Strong rhythms, crystal-clear (but NOT overbearing) lead guitars & some subtle harmonics bring all those elements of style together in one of the most forward-looking musical pleasure events I've had occasion to listen to in years. If you're looking for throwaway "funk", forget it; th' music is well thought-out & will have you coming back frequently for another "taste"! Th' group sent the CD in as a result of a listing in the CMC, of which they are members... we've received some FINE material from CMC members, & this ranks right at the TOP of the best! For those interested in what "jazz" in th' 21st century will sound like, this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 9648 Olive Street Road, Box 348, St. Louis, MO 63132 Rotcod Zzaj

Joyce Handler: REFLECTIONS OF HOPE - This CD, in from Creative Services Company, bills itself as "instrumental music for hope, healing and renewal". If you've listened to any of those "holistic music" tapes (ya' know, th' ones with titles like "The Medicinal Butterfly", or somesuch), there will be a tendency (as there was on my part) to "write it off" on first listen. "Yeah", you'll think, "it's pretty, but it's like all th' other ones". Not SO, my friends. It's true that this won't win a grammy (or wotever they're givin' out these days) for "hot potato". It took me a second (& third, actually) listen to appreciate the intricacy of this lady's compositions. There's a "high" inherent in the beautiful orchestral masterpieces she paints for your mind. Joyce is, in fact, a "doctor" & clinical psychologist. No doubt an OUTSTANDING one, for anyone who can (even) conceive of grand energies like this is already well on their way towards nirvana & th' realization of spiritual perfection that most of us seek. The difference between th' aforementioned "Butterfly" type music & Handler's is that parts of HER peace come shining through in most energetic fashion. If you think this music will be too "dowdy" - think AGAIN! It comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by your editor! She's certainly made the world a better place with her wonderful music! Contact at Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Rotcod Zzaj

John Bischoff: THE GLASS HAND - John sent this CD in (apparently without any promo stuff), probably as a result of some kind of net contact. Far from "ordinary", it's synth-based "textural" work. Very experimental in nature, this is not for the timid. You'll have to be willing to hear sounds & patterns you never thought were available. In th' sense of "independent" , "creative" and "D.I.Y.", it slides right in there at the TOP of those categories. It's not "dense" like many of these efforts, in fact it's quite sparse, at times sounding like that hearing test machine in th' doctor's office, at others like sci-fi background. Reminded me in some ways of some pieces from "Tinty Music", but much less theme oriented. Don't know if John's ever performance oriented, but this music would fit PERFECTLY in th' next Olympia Strange Music Society's EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC FESTIVAL. For most listeners, this won't be what they're after, but for the truly adventuresome, it's MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at Artifact Recordings, 1374 Francisco St., Berkeley, CA 94702, or via e-mail to  Rotcod Zzaj

Serah: OUT OF THE WIND - For those who love new-age oriented music, this CD (in from Creative Service Company) will be among those that you MUST HAVE! As with most music that comes from Creative, this has an original energy that sets it apart from the rest of "the pack", though! Serah expresses herself VERY clearly, both vocally and through her written/spoken word(s). This does tend to take one back to a "brighter" time in the history of America's music, a time full of hope (and fear), the late '60's. There the comparisons must stop, though... her style is completely her own, & her power shines through with the genuine love of music and the people she performs it for. Though I'm not (in general) a fan of this genre, this gets a definite RECOMMENDED from my earz! (Those who are in love with the music of love will probably classify is as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). Contact at Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Rotcod Zzaj

     .....&, th' tradition continues... These reviews from our longtime (reviewing) friend Henry Schneider have (for years now) expanded the scope of what we stand for here at "I.N."! Henry is (by now) a recognized expert at figuring out what th' "progressive" side of th' music scene is all about, & what's REALLY shakin' there... looks like (by th' time you get this) I'll have gotten to actually MEET him, up in Seattle in mid-September... once again, many THANKS for your accurate, spicy & honest reviewing, Henry...

Kevin Leonard: AUTOMATRIX - (Space Monster Optional Entertainment CD-0995-3) CD: 44:16 In 1992 Kevin Leonard, North Star's keyboardist, released a self-produced solo cassette of eight jazz influenced progressive instrumental compositions. Now Kevin has released this same music on CD. Kevin Leonard, the brightest star in North Star's constellation, is an accomplished keyboardist and can hold his own when compared to the likes of Keith Emerson. Kevin's compositional talents, his rapid fire keyboard chops, and multi-keyboard orchestrations complement each other resulting in eight excellent tracks ranging from the sublime to high energy keyboard pyrotechnics. Automatrix is the best album North Star never released. All of what North Star could have and should have been is contained on this release. There are no irritating wimpy vocals that make you reach for the power button. If you've never heard North Star, avoid their releases and seek out Automatrix instead, you won't be disappointed. [Space Monster Optional Entertainment, P. O. Box 43, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania 19342 USA] - Henry Schneider - August 1996

Hecenia: L'EGENDES - (Musea FGBG 4157.AR) CD: 46:24 Legendes is Hecenia's first album recorded in 1989, released in 1990, and now reissued on CD. If you've only heard Hecenia's second release La Couleur du Feu from 1994 you would be surprised by the vast difference in the music. Whereas La Couleur du Feu contains sophisticated jazz influenced progressive rock, Legendes shows the bands roots in Genesis, Yes, and Italian progressive bands. This CD reissue is slightly different from the original vinyl release in that Pierre-Yves Chiron's guitar solos on Hecenia, Le grimoire, and La vieille femme et la chandelle were replaced with Daniel Trutet's in May 1991. The title track is an energetic instrumental harkening back to Watcher of the Skies era Genesis. The other three songs feature beautiful vocal harmonies, symphonic orchestrations, and superb musicianship. Legendes verges on being derivative but is worth investigating.

[Musea, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] - Henry Schneider - August 1996  Trace: BIRDS - (Musea FGBG 4176.AR) CD: 47:30 Birds, released in 1975, was the second album by the Dutch progressive band Trace. This CD reissue contains the complete original album plus two bonus tracks Birds and Tabu which were only released on a single. Birds is an interesting excursion through classical, jazz, and progressive music. It contains two interpretations of Bach compositions, some excellent violin work by Darryl Way reminiscent of Bartok, and an excellent performance by Rick van der Linden (ex-Ekseption) of Bix Biederbecke's jazz piano classic In a Mist. Other points of reference are Soft Machine and Focus. Pierre van der Linden, Rick's brother and Trace's first drummer, was also Focus' drummer. Ian Mosley who replaced Pierre on drums for Birds is now Marillion's drummer. Birds is a masterpiece of progressive rock from the seventies that stands head and shoulders above today's neo-progressive releases. Don't pass this one by. [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] - Henry Schneider - August 1996

Galaad: VAE VICTUS - (Musea FGBG 4179.AR) CD: 67:26 Four years after the first album by this Swiss band, Musea now brings us their second Vae Victus. Galaad's music shows a definite improvement over Premier Fevrier. Their vocalist Pierre-Yves Theurillat, the Swiss Peter Hammill, marred their first release by over emotive vocalizing. Now on Vae Victus Pierre has learned how to balance his voice with their music. Here we have eleven energetic and macho songs. Vae Victus is in your face from the opening notes of L'Epistolier to the dying chords of Une Rose Noire. Only the seventh song Trahison hearkens back to the excess of their first release. Overall an excellent release with the artistry of the band spilling over to the CD packaging. Its beautiful abstract artwork greatly enhances the listening experience. If you find this description interesting, by all means seek out this band. [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] - Henry Schneider - August 1996

Apocalypse: AURORA DOS SONHOS -  (Musea FGBG 4171.AR) CD: 57:55 Aurora dos Sonhos is the second release in just a little over a year by this Brazilian neo-progressive quartet of bass, guitars, synths, and percussion. This exotic and colorful band weaves an intricate tapestry of symphonic and acoustic music paying homage along the way to Genesis and the Italian progressives ala Le Orme. However not being able to read and understand Portuguese I can only sit back and let the music weave its magic around me. The accompanying artwork is a might overdone and could give you the impression that this is one of Musea's reissues. Do not be mistaken, Aurora dos Sonhos is brand new and a release not to be missed! [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] - Henry Schneider - August 1996

Rhesus: O RHESUS O - (Musea FGBG 4137.AR) CD: 35:58 Digging through their music archives Musea has unearthed another relic of the pre-Magma/Zeuhl school of music. Recorded in 1971 at the Chateau d'Herouville, this short lived band produced what many aficionados consider to be the first Zeuhl album. Drawing on their jazz roots and close association with Gerard Prevost, Jean-Pol Asseline and Thierry Blanchard pulled together 7 other like minded musicians to create a rich and sophisticated music akin to Magma's first album and Soft Machine's Third and Fourth. With today's CD technology and the tendency now to utilize it to the max, the roughly 36 minutes for the 9 songs are just too short. It is too bad that Musea could not augment the original album with some bonus tracks. Rhesus O is an essential album for fans of this genre and could be a great place to start for the uninitiated. [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte, 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] - Henry Schneider - August 1996


I've decided to stop "extracting" little "snatches" out of Bryan Baker's DIY Report... if you haven't been there yet (even if you DON'T have a computer - borrow a friends'), you need to GET there & see what he's doing/done! The WWW address (or URL, as it's called) is: 

& since yer' in th' web, of course, stop by & see US, at: 



Another viewpoint, without regard to WHERE it evolves from is not only HEALTHY, it's a requirement for a well-lived life! As I watch my perceptions of this society grow/change, it's (almost) STAGGERING to see how "locked" people can become! For those who "surrender" their right to opinion, i.e., give it to a minister, a "lovelorn" columnist, or whatever (other) "guru", this rant will make (VERY) little sense; but for those who DO (& prob'ly always HAVE) recognized the value of their own opinion, it should make some penetration!


I grew up (aw, naw, that's NOT true - I didn't "grow up" until much MUCH later - still WORKIN' on that, in fact) in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in the middle of an extremely INtolerant group of people! I carried that burden (unnecessarily) around for years, until I finally began to realize (after not a little mental pain) that the "idols" I'd set up in my tender years did NOT have all the answers for me! In retrospect, it was much easier to see that, in fact, all they had were their OPINIONS! That's the one STRONG point in their favor, actually! They had deep-rooted opinions, & (many of them) stuck to their GUNS! No "wishy-washy" characters where I grew up, yoh?

As I travelled far & wide, in OTHER societies, what I began to see, though, is that RESPECT for other people's opinions (& respect does NOT mean "changing with the wind" every time you hear a new one), the ability to "put yourself in their sandals", could influence/shape/mold your OWN perception(s)! Our society is SORELY lacking (I believe) in such acceptance and diversity of experience! Oh, sure, there are a few of us (many of 'em D.I.Y.'ers, of course) who listen to other opinions - but without the benefit of being IN the other culture (not just "visiting"), little real progress can be made towards understanding WHY other people think/believe differently than we do! (& you'd better BELIEVE, they do NOT see things as we do, in many cases)

What brought this thought on? I was adding up the number of years I'd been off these shores... around 28, well over HALF of my 50 years! A part of that process was thinking back on how being there (particularly in the Orient) had given me a MUCH different viewpoint. Now, it didn't MAKE me a "Korean", or a "Thai" or even a Hindu... I am (& always WILL be) what I AM! What it DID do, though, was made me SEE things that were handy & valuable to assimilate into my own ideals, diet or physical regimens. I think EVERY American (who didn't ORIGINATE in another culture) should be required to GO to another culture, for (maybe) a year or two. Not just "visiting", but working/playing/eating/living in the THICK of that culture. If (something like) that happened, "ugly" Americans would become extinct in a matter or years, and our culture would become (among) the strongest in history! Think it over, eh? Till next issue, may you "D.I.Y.", foevah!

Rotcod Zzaj






Mozart is a perfect partner

on bright sunny mornings

it's easy to hear things

growing with the windows up

moving around each other

able to take things for granted

the positive togetherness

of opposites and similarities

dogs cats birds humans

able to contact with

easy flow of intimate

string quartet's timelessness.

c Joan Payne Kincaid


Lost in environs of violins

and endless virtual

confined selves fingering air

in the fine square

house with square

rooms of square

windows with white

shad- drawn drums

she squats some discord

primitive terror

that modern life

is a springing tiger.


c Joan Payne Kincaid

The Uptight Octopus

Are octopus worried when they make love?

Do they discuss who should be on top?

Do they do it face to face?

Do they fret if one arm is not stiff and strong?

Is there angst if suction pads are not sticky?

Do they plan auto-eroticism with the extra arms?

Do they shoot dye at the opportune time?

Must this magic moment synchronize?

Do they sway and enjoy water play?

Do they worry about cellulite?


c Esther Roberts


You came from a well,

Cool liquid resting low,

And making love was

Tasting your spirit.

Quiet waters in secret well,

Sweetness drawn to surface,

A sheltered source

Far from the tattoo of sunshine.

Lifting bucket, I pour smooth

Water in shining droplets

Over my hair, down my back

Down my tongue, taking it in.

Arms held up, face turned up

I drink it, licking rim of cup

Over and over it flows,

Water from hidden streams.


c Esther Roberts


Today is quiet as listening to grass

death is not far... quivering

in September news, death isn't

polkadots & lists at tea.

Timeless distant tennis games

beyond a lavendar pool

tourniquets of liquid dream

misty gown disguise, yellow.

Touring on a grand yacht

in pink qui est la in

ten foreigh languages

of listing lingering rapport..

Naked sting of rape under

the arbor and hgears of sail

bored by repetitios trails

captured on rhythmic slalom.

c Joan Payne Kincaid


The Iniquity of Conformity



Form-fitted figments


Freedom for philosophic


The people's petty plagiarism

Of thought and belief;

Conformity of others is

Demanded. One who dares

to dream or diverge is

CASTIGATED, ostracized,


Artistic license is granted by

The "Mindless Masses", whose

Material Masters

Raze selves, psyches, souls.

The mental midgets who mastermind

The experimental thought decline

Will soon enough lay to waste

The progress

Of countless innovators of the past!


c Art Metcalf (Son of Zzaj!)



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