Archived CD Reviews: Leo Lab – March 1999 Releases
critiques by DAN WARBURTON, Paris Editor
Horn/Kendig/Dickey - Screwdriver
Joachim Gies - Distances
Eugene Chadbourne - Worms
|Walter Horn/Gary Kendig/Hugh Dickey
review by Dr. Dan
In his liner notes, Brian Olewnick imagines that the early King Crimson line-up (with Keith Tippett) might sound like this today had they stayed together. An intriguing thought, but the group that comes most readily to my mind is Tony Williams Lifetime, the first real post-jazz power trio with Larry Young and John McLaughlin. When Horn (keyboards) Kendig (drums, trumpet) and Dickey (guitar, clarinet) get going its a thrilling rideDickeys guitar on the title track out-Bucketheads Buckethead, and Kendigs jet-propelled drumming could well have Tony Williams tapping along in his grave.
Horns inventive keyboards (hard to find someone who makes synthesizers sound good in an improv context) are fresh and surprising throughout. Hats off to Leo Feigin for putting these guys on the mapthe only problem being that this sort of power-improv could probably reach a wider audience if it was on a rock label; punters who are getting into Mass and Supersilent are probably unlikely to step across the border into Leo country, but those who do wont be disappointed. A smokin album.
[Leo Lab CD 051]
Article by Dan Warburton
An enterprising set of short duets (the exception being About conditions to feel time, at 707), pairing saxophonist/composer Gies with various partners to varying degrees of success. The opening track with Thomas Böhm-Christl (cello) could be an out-take by Material, while the vocal settings of Stefan Georges poetry sung by mezzo Ute Düring belong squarely to the world of contemporary composition (Gies multiphonics are particularly impressive).
Elsewhere hes quite at home blowing his instrument to bits in the duets with Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, or exploring the possibilities of electronics with trombonist Thomas Wiedermann. The relative brevity of the tracksonly 7 of the 23 are over three minutes longmakes a refreshing change (since most improvisors these days have difficulty knowing when to stop), but also leaves one feeling a little dissatisfied, wishing certain ideas had had more time to develop.
[Leo Lab CD 052]
||WORMS WITH STRINGS
Article by Dan Warburton
After the DIY lo fi (no fi) of Insect and Western, Dr. Chads back with a homage to string instruments (theres a lot of multi-tracked guitar, dobro and banjo) and, er, fecal worms... Several tracks were recorded live at New Yorks Knitting Factory (Id dearly like to know what a Pakistani moat-clearer is, because Brian Ritchies playing one here), and Prelude to Gromphado is a historic recording of the final minutes of Chadbournes dobro before a drunken idiot marched onstage in San Francisco and stomped it to pieces (see our interview with Chadbourne for more sorry details of this sad event).
The montage is as beguilingly homemade as ever, and Dr. Chads political position as unambiguous as it ever was, one of the pieces dedicated to Jesse Helms (I am sure most people would agree that of all the lifeforms created by nature, the fecal worm is very close to Helms in both personality and benefit to mankind). Lets hope Leo escapes a lawsuit for that.
[Leo CD LR 264]