Experimental music used to be my life, my love, etc. I used to just search out the weirdest of the weird, the free-est stuff, the wild and crazy, just to see where music could be taken. This took up the most annoying three or four years of my life; no one wants to help you when you’re on this kind of quest, and it was a lonely time. But this sad little episode ended when I realized that I’d rather listen to George Clinton or Thin Lizzy or Ann Peebles or De La Soul (all of which made very out-there music that humans could actually listen to), than the tooth-filling-loosening scrapings of the avant-gardists.
So I’m sure these four avant-gardists (trumpeter Lesli Dalaba, guitarist Fred Frith, keyboardist Eric Glick Rieman, and violinist Carla Kihlstedt) won’t mind my describing this CD as difficult mind-bending experimental stuff. I’m not sure they would share my point of view that it’s a complete freakin’ waste of time, but they obviously don’t care, or they wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths to ignore such boring old musical “conventions” as rhythm, melody, harmony and actually giving a shit about the people who have to listen to the music.
Because they don’t. They’re just all scraping and blowing and pounding away, with the result that very little of it rises to the point of being the kind of thing 99% of us would call music. They’re after the other 1%, the kind of folks I used to pretend to be. Thirteen-minute tracks held together by the swinging of a rusty gate are not fun, and they’re not really innovative either; hell, Duke Ellington used that in “You Gave Me the Gate (And I’m Swingin’)” back in 1938. Track 6 (Accretions’ shitty promo disc contained no tracklisting or info of any kind) is five minutes of sub-Beefheartian grind…and I don’t really like Beefheart at all.
The only number that makes any kind of sense to me is Track 5, where Frith and Kihlstedt actually sound like they’re interacting, and there’s some dramatic tension, and it sounds like something approaching music. (Frith, who’s been at this for decades, comes off best overall. That isn’t saying much.) This almost happens again halfway through the final track, when Dalaba pulls off a couple Miles Davis runs to go with Frith’s sudden Hendrixisms, but they lose the plot again and it dissolves into irrelevance.
Avoid this, unless you need some party-clearing ambience, or you want to mess with your neighbors, or you’ve been way too happy and you want to bring yourself down. I’m going to use this disc in some sort of abstract sculpture. It’s gonna be wicked conceptual.