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*** Bob Ostertag



This is the third installment of electronic composer/improviser Ostertag's Say No More project. In part one, he recorded solo performances by drummers Joey Barron and Gerry Hemingway, bassist Mark Dresser, and vocalist Phil Minton, then sampled and re-assembled them into a new composition. For part two, the Hemingway-Dresser-Minton trio performed a score based on the first tape composition. Tapes of the live ensemble were fed back into a computer and sampled to create this third new work.

But even without any knowledge of these conceptual games or the computer hardware involved, listeners will find this music disturbing, confrontational, and at times quite beautiful. The individual tracks, which take their names from those annoying clothing-catalogue color names, are evocative in different ways. "Paris green" is a tense, high-pressure stream of sounds resembling buzzing flies, bicycle horns, and yodels that finally erupt into a Hemingway drum solo. "Middle stone" starts with disjointed drum and bass phrases and explosive vocal noises that sound like Martian expletives; it ends in a vamping bass pattern and mutterings from vocalist Minton. The album conveys a nightmarish Kafka-esque narrative power that frequently blooms into alien beauty. And it strikes a balance between virtuoso improvisation and technology guided by a compositional hand; as Ostertag says in his liner notes, "It is all improvised and it is all composed."

-- Ed Hazell

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