with, Greg Acker, Joee Conroy, Steve
Good, Gary Pahler,
Joseph Getter, Mark Englert, Bob Douglas, Steve Roberts, David
Stilley, Sam Gray, Keenan Lawler Tom Butsch, Misha Feigin, Andy
Rademaker, Henry Kaiser, Davey Williams, Eugene Chadbourne, Greg
Goodman, Doug Carrol, Dean Zigoris, Jay Lyons, Marko Novachcoff, Paul
Lovens, Todd Hildreth, Mark Bradlyn, Mike Heffley, Peter Hadley
This is a big kahuna for the
Grets, maybe even a major opus, a 25th anniversary 3-cd set.
They’ve always been good at pulling rabbits out of hats, but I never
expected gamelan to be one of them. The whole first disc is a
contemporary Indonesian/western gamelan piece made up of 18 sections
which tend to get more Western toward the end before they end up more
Javanese than anything. It’s largely a pleasing, even challenging
experience, both restful and energetic. Very seldom does it sound quite
like anything I’ve heard before, and I’ve heard a great deal of gamelan.
It has a bit of humdrum in tracks 16 and 17, but it almost continually
surprised me, not a small feat.
Speaking of gamelan, there’s a
performance of “In C” by Terry Riley, that gamelan offspring, which
takes up Disc 3. A smoothly chugging, sax-colored performance, it’s a
treat and a half.
Disc 3’s “Time Lapse” gives some
idea of what an improv-ready Lou Harrison might have been like with its
pan-Asian slippery stateliness. “Foreplay” first camps up soundtrack
miasma, but later unfortunately succumbs to the bog of it all. “Music To
Die By,” an elegiac marvel, could also make a good testament to being
The Grets have done themselves
proud here and this a good way to sample their eclecticism and daring.
Ear X-tacy records