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Improv 04

Ut Gret

Recent Fossils

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 alive.  

The Grets have done themselves proud here and this a good way to sample their eclecticism and daring.

Ear X-tacy records


Richard Grooms