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Improv 04

Mommy Row

Philip Gayle- acoustic gtrs., gong, wineglasses, toy piano, etc.


Philip Gayle is refreshingly good at avoiding free improve clichés. But it’s not so much what he avoids as what he includes that’s important here. “Zoomly Zoomly” features a nervous bunch of scratching, wheedling and buzzing instruments anchored by a regularly recurring gong, suggesting a ritual orchestra from a non-Earth yet humanlike society- without a trace of hokeyness. Such a wide variety of unusual instrumental combinations are used on these tracks that it would be nice to know what you’re listening to on each cut, but I know improv records are shoestring ops so I can hardly single this one out. The guitaristics are reminiscent of Derek Bailey, but don’t have the over-random, desiccated sound that musician too often supplies. Eugene Chadbourne might be a better comparison, as the playing here is highly spirited and quirky. But there’s more here you can hang onto than you can with Chadbourne. Call it structured anarchy? It may seem unrealizable, but Gayle pulls it off again and again. There’s more fresh musical ritual, plain enchantment and surprise here than you normally get in free music. The crystal clear recording only adds to the high worth of this recording.



Family Vineyard

FV 38 CD



Richard Grooms