Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 44

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Issue # 44 REVIEWS:


Blind Pineapple Phillips – TEETH IN MY MIND:  Those who have been following this “D.I.Y. thang” for decades now (& yeah, it HAS been decades) will recognize B.P.P. as one of the (many) monikers that our pal Bret Hart has attached to his performances.  He blew ME away (back in the early ’90’s) with a submission to this ‘zine under that performance name.  I puzzled for MONTHS as to who’n’l this Phillips character was.  This ’90’s outing features B.P.P’s very agile acoustic guitar blooz’, with some odd (& at times quirky) chords & percussives you won’t BELIEVE thrown in.  His lyrics will FEEL like a dentist (mental or NOT) yankin’ ’em out from th’ rootz (somehow I just can’t get th’ image of Steve Martin outta’ my head)!  I doubt you’ll ever see/hear B.P.P. in a feature movie , but you SHOULD!  Perfect 21st Century incarnation of what th’ “Blues Brothers” were to thee youth of the late 20th!  Just catch th’ title of my fave trak… “Shovelin’ Through Frogs”.  Now, THAT’s th’ blooz, peeple; actually it’s way MO’ than blues… call it “undercurrent blooz”, maybe!  Down-home & able to twang yer’ heartstringz in an instant!  Very pleasant & laid-back listening… this gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who love highly original blues/folk (with a TWIST) toonz!  Imagine some kind o’ unGOURDly cross-breeding ‘twixt th’ Harts, thee Phillips’s & some aliens with guitarz & dented-red-spoke bicycles, eh?  Contact at 609 Morehead Street, Eden, North Carolina, USA 27288 or via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Ferraro – EAST SIDE MANSION:  Very interesting solo prog-rock in from William.  As you might expect for progressive, heavy use of synths/strings for building the lead-ins, & some clearly defined percussives as th’ underpinning.  He also plays a mean sax!  One reason you don’t (often) see/hear prog-rock here, I suppose, is that it doesn’t really lend itself to being in the “HOMEMADE” arena.  Ferraro has definitely proven that he can create a totally enjoyable listen that sticks to it’s progressive roots!  TOTALLY self-generated, recorded in his home studio.  Keep yer’ ears on Will’s music, there WILL be more of it on th’ scene in the next 10 years or so… gets a RECOMMENDED for those who want fresh, new rawkin’ with strong prog leanings.  Contact at 4202 County Route 4, Oswego, New York 13126, or via e-mail at  He also has a WWW site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Golana – FEATHER ON THE WIND:  This CD features some excellent (& very relaxing) flute works by Golana (nee Scott Cunningham), a native-American player.  The unique thing is that his playing doesn’t focus on the more “traditional” forms of native-American music(s)… all the way from “Eagles” to “Chopin/Mozart” (though those native-American “influences” can be heard coming through clearly, particularly in the percussion).  Accompaniments vary…. some nice hand drums, all the way to some well-played acoustic guitar on track 3 (Alleluia).  Strong spiritual influences penetrate the listener’s mind, a direct result of Golana’s intensity of style and desire to convey his message.  You can’t “frame it” as new age, it’s clearly not native American – just pure Golana.  Provides for a beautiful listen, gets a RECOMMENDED from us.  Purchase at records stores around the country, or online at  Rotcod Zzaj

Bill Horist – SONGS FROM THE NERVE WHEEL:  Dense, thick and rich solo guitar improvisations that will put you (right back) in TOUCH with your “nerve wheel”.  We were fortunate enough to review his first CD, “Soylent Radio”, also released on UNIT CIRCLE REKKIDS.  This round seems to be at a level “below” that first release (& that’s a compliment, as it means that his playing digs down into the psyche even FURTHER).  Somehow, there needs to be collaboration betwixt Bill & my (acoustic guitar improvisor) friend Ernesto Diaz-Infante (down in San Francisco), if there hasn’t been such already… Ernesto’s playing style definitely comes to mind!  I particularly enjoyed “Gravity’s Backwash” (track 6), but that’s probably because it has a steamrolling rhythmic undercurrent to “guide” the listener through the strange sonic territory.  This album will THRILL those who dig experimental guitar & frighten those more into “normal”.  It gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the “PICK” of this issue for “best improv guitar works”.  Contact at 1222 E. Pike St.,. PMB-815, Seattle, WA 98122-3916, via e-mail to  or on the label page at   Rotcod Zzaj

Electric Voodoo – 7 STAYIN POWERS: Tekito Communications (way down in New Orleans) sent a stak o’ full-length CD’s in, & this is the first that caught my ear… wot’ a strange mix, but TOTALLY indie, volkz!  If this is a sign of th’ new musical underground – I’m all FO’ it!  Percussives all OVER th’ place, pseudo-Afrikan chants runnin’ in, under, down & through.  No doubt that if yer’ leave th’ headphones on too long with this conglomeration runnin’, you’ll be guided to spirit-land & put upon to do thee NAS-tee ‘pon somone!  It’s not like music you’ve ever heard before, & if yer’ earz’re into adventure – you’ve just FOUND it!  Kick back ‘n imagine yer’self as th’ object of a tribal ceremony… girls dancin’ ’round, stirrin’ up th’ pot (& these folks MUSTA’ been doin’ somethin’ with (a) pot)… you get th’ idea, right?  This music can NOT be “classified”, it stands on it’s own – enough so to get a RECOMMENDED from us.  Contact at PMB # 432, 828 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70116, or visit their website at   Rotcod Zzaj

Phinney/McGee – HOMEMADE ALIEN MUSIC, VOLUME ll (Ancient Astronauts):  Hal (McGee) has been around the underground/homemade music scene since it began, way back in the tape-exchange days.  Chris (Phinney) joined him early on.  This CD release is from HalTapes… good to know Hal’s still “alive & kickin'”!  The music is what I would call the ULTIMATE in space elektronique… it really SOUNDS like what I imagine a journey through the outer reaches is like.  In fact, without ever VISITING Cape Kennedy (or izit Canaveral), I feel like I’ve been to Venus & back twice or thricely!  The beauty of this music is that it’s not all “drone”… lots of lil’ twists/turns… hell, HAVTA’ be, as the accompanying comic book describes a journey they made through a wormhole!  If you’ve never listened to these masters of elektrik (synth)-insanity before, your ears are in for a treat… you’ll agree with me when I declare this MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Synth-lektrik-listener’s heaven!  Contact at 1909E SW 42 Way, Gainseville, FL 32607-5407, or via e-mail to Chris at   Rotcod Zzaj


Lewis Trio – BATTANGO:  Old phartz’ like me feel right at home with th’ kind o’ jazz you’ll hear on this fantastic CD!  Strange, ‘coz it’s on a new label, Nubenegra… the aural attractions are in the agile blending of Latino/Cuban with straight-ahead ol’ fashioned jazz.  Leader (Ricardo Gonzalez) Lewis’ violin adds a touch of “french” that REALLY loads it up with energy.  The piano of Ivan Gonzalez Lewis is EXCEPTIONALLY strong as well, though we can’t leave out the wonderful bass work by Alain Perez, either.  Strong percussion by Gerovis Pico and Yuri Nogueras round it out.  I fell in love with the violin work from the first measure, truly beautiful!  All elements fuse together (though it’s NOT fusion) to form a perfect whole!  Those who love jazz will agree immediately with my rating this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as electing it the “PICK” of this issue for “best jazz”.  If you don’t get another album/CD this year – GET THIS!!!  Simply wonderful!!!  Contact through the publicity agent at or on their WWW pages at   Rotcod Zzaj

David Burgess – SILVER NUGGETS & FOOL’S GOLD:  Some enchanting solo classical guitar (with a nice flavor of flamenco jazz) on this CD!  Extremely relaxing, though not lacking at ALL in the energy department.  Imagine yourself sittin’ on a luxury liner on th’ way to a 1930’s movie tryst with a Latino beauty… sippin’ on a cuba libre, or margarita, smokin’ a nice stogie – somethin’ like that.  David’s acoustic work is flawless, painting images of Zorro in my ears, bringing on a true sense of adventure.  Don’t (for a moment) confuse this with random improv, it’s very structured & easy to follow.  That doesn’t make it “simple” music, either… Burgess’ fingers walk all OVER the strings in complex dances that not very many players of this style can accomplish.  Lovers of well-played music everywhere will find this a “must have” for their collection!  I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & hope that many will seek this one out for the extreme aural pleasures it can bring.  Contact at 141 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY 11201, or via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Tales – ECHOES FROM THE LAST FAIRYLAND:  Our French friend Jean-Luc Herve Berthelot has put together another synthesized masterpiece for your listening pleasure on this CD.  We have reviewed him many times over the last 5 years, coming to expect excellence in everything he sends us… this exciting musical journey didn’t let us down!  “Echoes” seems (somehow) more in an ambient space, tastes of piano composition as overlays to the clean beauty of his synthesizers.  Ideas and images swirl forth from his agile fingers, taking you to wherever your fairyland is.  This is (without doubt) the BEST “TALES” we’ve heard yet, 8 compositions that touch on the deepest wells of emotion in human experience.  Some SPLENDID sax sounds in here, too!  Strange voices in the background, approaching poetry, but not quite there… ghosts, maybe.  Any listener who appreciates mystery will agree when I declare it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Contact on the WWW at or via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Mental Anguish – EYEBALLS GLAZED OVER:  During my first listen through this re-issue CD from Chris Phinney’s Harsh Reality label (Gourd, doesn’t THAT bring back mem’ries of the “grand ol’ daze” of homemademusic), I was busy surfing the netz.  Thot I’d get some ideas for the review(s), but was amazed to find that I didn’t remember ANYTHING about my impressions.  It is surreptitious… unobtrusive… and laidback, all in one swell foop!  It may have been the analog hum (only slightly noticeable, as a carryover from the original tape, I’m sure), though I tend to believe it was the composition itself… 5 long cuts that will trance you OUT, volkz!  Solid synthworks that will (very quickly and very smoothly) allow you to distance yourself from the troubles of the day.  Though this is (nearly) in the ambient realm, it still exhibits an energy & flow that sneaks up on you.  Merits a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for any who enjoy something different in their listening!  Contact at POB 2241661, Memphis, TN 38124-1661, or via e-mail to    Rotcod Zzaj

Mimetic Mute – NEGATIVE:  Strange synth krankin’, vox interruptus, nothing normal…. & that makes this DIFFERENT musical adventure come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in our ears!  The CD is very well-recorded, can serve as pleasant background, but much better listened to in thee LOUDEST vein!  Headphones are a MUST to catch all the little electronic voice manipz… we’ve not listened to this group before, but rest assured we will (muchly more) inna’ future… ‘coz we want ALLA’ their new releases wingin’ their way to us over the next coupla’ years.  There are many groups who fancy themselves as being at this level of “in touch” with the mysteries of beat electronics, but few who achieve it with such an intriguing sense of twist.  A VERY enjoyable listen that any with adventure in thee blood coursing thru their aural appendages will find quite satisfying!  Contact at   Rotcod Zzaj

John Serrie – CENTURY SEASONS:  This double CD from space music pioneer John Serrie requires serious listening to grasp the intent.  It’s not really a one-sitting experience, & it is decidedly NOT “just new age”!  If you give it your full attention, you’ll realize that Serrie has skillfully integrated the sounds of what he (& most of us, I think) imagine the journey through space might sound like.  Not jarring loops slam-dunked into the mix, not insignificant patches that leave YOU  lost… this is a FULL SCALE listening adventure, & a MUST HAVE for any serious space music fan!  “CENTURY” goes far beyond the norm for this genre, & will be an instant hit for those who take the time to absorb the full depth.  Be prepared, however, for a long listen.  I would recommend 2 consecutive evenings, mapped out for NO interruptions.  After the listening experience, you will find yourself with many thoughts and energies that need additional time to focus.  Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918… also via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Todd Sickafoose Group – DOGS OUTSIDE:  This CD is our first listen to this notable jazz group recorded in L.A.  There are times when it’s difficult to tell if their roots are in composed or improv jazz, but comes much closer to traditional in the sense of composure.  Todd’s bass is exquisite, furnishing a real sense of direction for each tune on the album.  Peter Epstein’s sax doesn’t slouch, & the Ferber brothers (I assume), Mark (drums) & Alan (trombone) are as timely (& ON time) as any players I’ve heard in the last 15 years.  Justin Moore’s splendid guitar rounds out a quartet as solid as you’ll hear these days!  Some deja’ vu in th’ experience for me, really reminded me of some of th’ pro jam sessions I used to hear around Frankfurt, Germany in the mid-’60’s.  SUPER high-energy, if you love good jazz as much as I do, you’ll agree when I declare this (not only) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but the PICK of this issue for “best jamjazz”!  The BEST jazz listen you’ll have in 2k!  Contact (like, immediately) at  or on their WWW pages at   Rotcod Zzaj

Jacques Chanier Trio – KITE FLIGHT:  “GREAT chops”,  is what I said to Jacques when he inquired about whether his CD submission had gotten lost in my stacks.  Some really solid hands/fingers that dance around his piano keys like gypsies on crystal.  He’s joined on this energetic outing by Brooke Sofferman (drums) and Thompson Kneeland (bass).  We’ve reviewed Sofferman before (last year sometime, I believe it was), & his percussion is as crisp & clear as ever.  Kneeland’s bass playing is super complimentary.  Paces run from slow to medium to very upscale on Jacques all-original compositions.  This is the kind of jazz I grew up on…. th’ stuph with SOUL, folks!  Super-sensitive communication between the players, not ONE “dropped syllable” – & they KNOW the language of jazz.  This CD gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener who relishes jazz that will last through the ages.  GREAT material, great music, great FUN!  Contact at  or write to 1 Wyatt Circle, Somerville, MA 02143-3933   Rotcod Zzaj

Tina Lear – THE ROAD HOME:  Our friends at Creative Service Company keep us (always) supplied with wonderful music to review… but, every once in a while (actually, quite more often than that) one of the CD’s they send is IMMORTAL!  Ms. Lear’s music is just such a discovery.  Some reviewers might classify this as “folk” music – & what a disservice THAT would be to listeners around the world.  Her lyrics are penetrating but pleasant… her musical stylings reminds me of many famous folks, but that’s what makes this a classic – this is TINA, pure & simple!  Shades of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones… all those ladies that are able to capture the stories of life in musical energies that transform it (life) into an ADVENTURE!  Her vocals will make you fall instantly in love with her – & her music.  LISTEN for this lady – & BUY her CD… you’ll be very happy you did!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who love the beauty of well-crafted stories wrapped in the luxury of music as powerful as a nuclear reactor!  Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918… also via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Satoko Fujii/Mark Dresser/Jim Black – TOWARD, “TO WEST”:  I’m not quite sure when Ms. Fujii’s music busted on the scene, but I remember well how impressed I was with her improv-ability (some couple of years or more ago…).  She doesn’t rest on her laurels, I’ll tell YOU, people.  Very prolific indeed.  This CD with Dresser (bass) & Black (drums) elevates my respect to new levels.  The piano is just SO “on”, as it trades licks with Mark, you might imagine you were witnessing a “charted” jazz journey.  Black’s percussives are crisply miked & seemed to really contribute to that “club” atmosphere somehow.  Satoko’s piano adheres more closely to “form” than you might expect from an improv player for nearly 5 minutes into the title track, but then she gets into that “out” that we do all so crave (but still continues to come back around to the reference point – always “on time” – if you can dig what I mean); it gets to an absolute FEVER PITCH!  FINE playing, totally loose & free!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all jazz listeners!  Contact at  Rotcod Zzaj

Baatin – SUNDAY BRUNCH:  This debut CD, in the sometimes-dreaded “smooth jazz” category does much to change the impressions many listeners have of that genre.  Why?  It is, after all, in that zone.  For me, it was his keyboards first, then his flute.  The soul comes shining through, not submerged in cliche percussion & machine licks!  Strong arrangements, even some H-O-T jazz guitar (by Baatin once again) on the 2nd track, “Uphill Road”, that will make you FEEL the grist implied in the track name.  Now, don’t read me wrong… this is NOT “hot improv” – it won’t carry you away into zones unheard of; rather, it’s a pleasant musical journey for a lazy afternoon when yer’ not too inclined to analyzing what yer’ hearing!  If, however, you can enjoy music that allows you to escape the trials & tribulations, this comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by us!  Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918… also via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Bud Shank Sextet – SILVER STORM:  I’m assuming (from the jacket) that the group aka (also the album title) has a lot to do with the color of their hair!  This particular play on words also has a GREAT deal of meaning when it comes to the jazz these guys play.  Talk about storms… I mean, this sounds like it has the energy of about 5 hurricanes on a rampage!  This is the most exciting & energetic (not to mention flawlessly executed) “straight” jazz CD I’ve heard in the last 5 years!  Since I’ve heard so many in that time span & a few score more, that’s sayin’ a lot!  It’s jump city from the first bar, & the energy just does NOT stop!  A big part of the perfection has to be the fact that they NEVER miss a lick.  You might conjecture that this isn’t so amazing, since it IS a recording… but when you listen to it, you’ll realize that this is (to my ears, anyway) purely natural & nearly all “first take”.  It’s WONDERFUL to hear this kind of jazz, just the kind of raw energy my ears (& probably many of YOURS as well) grew up on!  Jazz fans will recognize this instantly as the classic it is, true treasure… gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us.  Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Craig Keyes – EARTHWALKS:  This CD takes you full cycle, birth/life/truth, through “a life in the day”, if you will!  FAR more than just another “new age” rhythm-click trakker, Keyes compositions first draw you near, then suck you in to a musical whirlpool from which there is no escape (not that you’d want to get anywhere other than into his rhythms)… in fact, they’re not “new age” at all – more like “life age”, to my way of thinking.  The other truly notable thing about Craig’s music is his FANTASTIC guitar… you don’t find many new age composers who can play this clearly… & the lead guitar (by Walt Gregory) on this track is supreme!  The first trak, simply titled “Birth”, is clear evidence to your ears of the energy levels to come.  Strange voices whirling in the undercurrents, there is a LOT to listen to in Keyes’ music, more than you’ll be able to comprehend in a first (or even a hundredth, perhaps) listen!   Another element that’s far removed from the norm (of most “new age”) in Keyes’ compositions are (what I will term) “natural” improvisations that all free-players will envy!  The energies and inspirations you will find in this album make it a “forever keeper” that certainly merits our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the “PICK of the year” for 2000 for “best composition”!  You owe it to yourself to purchase and listen to this wonderful CD.  Contact on the WWW through  or via e-mail to   Publicity agent is Musik International, available at 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Keith Bear – EARTHLODGE:  We have been fortunate enough to continually receive Keith’s CD’s (from Makoche Recording Company).  His native American flute playing is joined during this round by his relaxed and revealing storytelling ability.  This is an “enhanced” CD, as well (first I remember from the label, though I’m not positive), with a very revealing talk with the artist.  It’s very important that you watch this session, because it will give you some insights into his music that you won’t have unless you do!  My wife and I watched it together, & she gave it her blessing – which is saying a LOT about how enchanting it is!  Keith believes it’s important for him to do a good job for his ancestors through his playing, & he does that oh so well!  If you approach this as “background” (which many will, I’m sure), you will be robbing yourself & other listeners.  I found myself immediately transported to a zone where both sadness and joy co-exist, much like life.  While I don’t lay claim to any particular “revelations” as a result, I can say with conviction that Mr. Bear’s journey will be an inspiration to even the hardest of hearts, if they but listen.  Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at 208 N. 4th Street, POB 2756, Bismarck, ND 58502-2756, on the website at or via e-mail to Rotcod Zzaj

Latin X-posure – DONDE ESTAS:  An even dozen players in this group comprised of folks from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico & Peru (even some from Cincinnati) will thrill you if your forte is Latin-based music with style & verve.  It comes across as sort of “big band”, if you will.  There’s a roster of vocalists too long to itemize here, but suffice it to say that the experience will have you longing for Latin lifestyle.  Don’t think that means that it’s all non-English, either… track 4 features Laura Toscaris on a lilting (& very jazzy) rendition of “I Thought I Heard You Call My Name”.  There is some excellent high-energy movement on all the tracks, enough to make you get up & DANCE, people!  Excellent percussion on all the cuts, as one might expect.  Those who love music with real rhythm & flair will agree when I rate this as HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Clearly cool!  Contact at POB 867, Cincinnati, Ohio 45201-0867, via e-mail to  or on the WWW at    Rotcod Zzaj

Marilynn Seits – ALONG THE SILK ROAD:  Certainly the title will give you a hint at the theme of Ms. Seits compositions on this beautiful and inspiring CD!  This is a true D.I.Y. effort, as she composed and played each instrument on every piece, & as a result has a depth of expression that “stock” music can never approach.  Her piano serves as an anchor for the entire experience, though she moves very slowly into it… using traditional oriental instruments in a rather long intro to the entire experience.  Many of the pieces, she says, were inspired by journeys in and through China… this helps to create mood and beauty.  Her technical mastery is clearly evident in the sounds she has woven as distinct undercurrents.  If all you’re looking for is dance & be-bop-hip-hop, you’ll want to move on to something else… but, if you enjoy substance and wonderment in your listening experience, you’ll second my rating of MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  A really nice album for contemplative listeners around the world. Contact through the Publicity agent at Musik International, available at 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ), or learn more about Marilynn at  ( ) Rotcod Zzaj

W.O.O. Revelator & the Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Pat Harman Duo – THE FIRST TIME:  Well, mi amigo Ernesto doesn’t sound like a “virgin” on any of the traks on this wild improvised CD… for that matter, neither does anyone else.  I’ve been a heavy fan of Bonnie Kane’s W.O.O. groupings ever since E.D.I. first hooked me up with ’em!  Each & every cut is a total adventure!  Ernesto plays some OUT piano/keyboards, the “loosest” I’ve ever heard him on the keys.  Pat Harman’s bass playing is without flaw, as I’d expect (having improvised a bit with him myself).  This “on the fly” improv is the best kind, but it certainly takes folks who aren’t “afraid”, but who ARE “skilled”… particularly in listening to each other while riding the wave.  Plenty of waves on here, a few of them (“Urban Slip” stands out) approaching “epic-standard” jazz (in a strange sort of a way).  This IS tomorrow’s improv, people!  It’s among the best free-style I’ve ever heard (or played), & I’ve done a LOT of both!  Simply splendid, sensitive improvised spontaneous composition that merits every bit of my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Contact Ernesto at or W.O.O. at   Rotcod Zzaj

Zola Moon – EARTHQUAKES, THUNDER AND SMILING LIGHTNING:  Tell ya’ folks, that publicist prob’ly thot he was bein’ pretty cute with that FAN in promo packet… but I’m sittin’ here just DRIPPIN’!  The improvised blues-style that Zola slams out fer’ ya’ will truly GET th’ earth movin’ & toss some of them hearty blues bolts down on yer’ world!  This is th’ second CD of hers we’ve reviewed, & I can tell you – she’s GOIN’ places!  This is that ol’ down blues… that stuff that takes every one of us back where we REALLY came from… no hidin’ here, you can gloss over yer’ whole life, but when you listen to this lady – there’s no escape!  Makes ya’ “feel the real”!  The band is even shinier than it was on th’ last round, but not to th’ point of glitz.  Some fantastic bass (which you just have to expect), & th’ guitar leads are even mellower, ‘specially on my favorite cut, “I Don’t Think So”.  Zola isn’t a “clone” of anyone, that’s HER singin’ those tunes, & she’ll grab yer’ heart & rip that zugger OUT!  Th’ title tells it all… all purely natural events that can turn yer’ life upside down!  “SMILING LIGHTNING”, indeed… Ms. Moon HAS th’ fire, & she’ll charge you UP!  This one (not only) gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, it’s also the “PICK OF THE YEAR” for “best female blues”!  Contact at 4553 West 171st St., Lawndale, CA 90260, visit the WWW site at  or e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj



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We WANT your announcements/links about great places for D.I.Y.’er’s… SEND us your links… e-mail to 


pretty bruises issue four is done.

Interviews –

– Jon DeRosa of Aarktica, Dead Leaves Rising and Flare

– Scott Cortez of lovesliescrushing and Astrobrite

– Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

Several months worth of music, zine and comic reviews.

Issues are $2 cash only to PO Box 583113, Minneapolis, MN 55458 USA
Minimal abstract ambient seems to me a fast but nice formulation to describe Adlib.

Minimal: It isn’t ambient as for example Jah Wobbel which baths in to much spheres and layers but it has a constructive ‘logical’ and repetitive build up. The same repetitiveness as you hears with To Rococo Rot or even maybe Rapoon but without the rhythmic aspect. (They’ve tried to express that minimalist feeling on the sleeve of the CD but that do not work out well. You can pure things out to the essence but here they keep nothing, it has no power.)

Abstract: Adlib has worked with abstract sounds. No sounds that you can recognise. No spoken parts or sounds of birds or whatever. just pure abstract and no definable sounds.

Ambient: the pieces are as with ambient untouchable hovering parts but the repetitive parts makes them more concrete. You can almost speak of ambient songs.

Ambient isn’t my favourite genre but Adlib makes it very interesting. Adlib can bring the hovering sounds to the ground so it becomes concrete. It has not only texture but also structure. Ambient isn’t my favourite label yet, but this happily surprised me.

By L’entrepot:



Just a quick email to let you know about Mendoza the exciting new unsigned
alternative band from Britain in the Jeff Buckley/At the Drive In/Foo
Fighters Style.

Our web page is or click  – Mendoza


October 23, 2000

Contact: Erika Radon @ 831-659-2250

Monthly Experimental Music Series to be hosted by Artisans Hand Gallery in Carmel Valley.

The Artisan’s Hand gallery in Carmel Valley Village will be presenting a monthly experimental music series. The first show features the TRUMMERFLORA COLLECTIVE from San Diego and will be held Friday, November 10 at 7:30pm.

Trummerflora is a musician’s collective dedicated to the performance, distribution and promotion of experimental and improvisational musics.  The collective includes Marcos Fernandes (percussion), Hans Fjellestad (keyboards), Damon Holzborn (guitar), Ro

bert Montoya (percussion, sampler), Marcelo Radulovich (bass, guitar), Jason Robinson (winds).

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 at 7:30pm
$5-10 suggested donation

Artisan’s Hand
19 E. Carmel Valley Rd.
Carmel Valley Village

Aural Innovations Radio has just uploaded a new show in streaming
RealAudio!!! (You can also download them if you prefer.)

Aural Innovations is an online web-zine covering all forms of spacerock,
psychedelia, electronica, and freaked out jazz. Our web site is LOADED with
reviews, interviews, and articles. The October issue is on schedule to go
online at the end of October.

Here’s the playlist for the new radio show:

Show 12 Playlist: (General Playlist)

SubArachnoid Space – “Fruity Drinks With Little Umbrellas” (from A New And
Exact Map)
Circle – “Gericht” (from Prospekt)
Electric Orange – “Sysyphus’ Revenge Part I-X” (from Electric Orange)
Tribe Of Cro – “Be” (from Hydroculture)
Seven Percent Solution – “Bruise” (from Gabriel’s Waltz)
Hardy – “The Light” (from The Light)
Hardy – “Seattle’s Reply” (from The Light)
Dark Sun – “Astral Magic” (from Feed Your Mind)
Sloterdijk – “The Thunderbirds” (from Integration)
Pseudo Buddha – “Moth Canal” (from Motive)
Delired Cameleon Family – “Ananta” (from Delired Cameleon Family)
Mental Anguish & NoMuzic – “Pigs In The Barnyard” (from Po Boyz With Gobot
War Toys)
Doug Michael & The Outer Darkness – “Ghoul” (from Outpost)
Magic Moments At Twilight Time – “The Starship Psychotron” (from Creavolution)
Yoke Shire – “Maiden Voyage” (from Masque Of Shadows)
Kingston Wall – “Used To Feel Before” (from Kingston Wall I)

So head on over to and click on the Radio link
to listen.

We’ve also added two new items to the Aural Innovations mail order catalog:

SubArachnoid Space  A New And Exact Map (2000): Their latest demonstrates
tremendous growth and features expanded instrumentation as keyboards join
SubArachnoid Space’s famous cosmic guitars. Long stretched out jams, some
with strong Ozric influences, and a guest appearance from synth maestro
Doug Ferguson (Ohm, Yeti). This is quickly becoming one of my
favorite spacerock releases of 2000.

Mushroom  Compared To What: Mushroom vs. Bundy K. Brown vs. Faust vs. Gary
(2000): New release on GREEN VINYL. Mushroom covers a lot of ground on this
one from totally tripped out jazzy psych jams to bluesy and soulful, but
still cosmic jazz tunes.

For more information on these and other available items go the main Aural
Innovations page and click on the mail order catalog link.



Yeah, our new song, “Pieces” was added to The A Bomb station.  Most
stations are a hodge-podge of discontinuous tunes.  The creator of
this station ordered the songs to give it a great feel and a mellow
flow as you listen to all the songs.

Please check it out and tell me what you think.


 Just in time for the holiday season, Zzaj Productions has a NEW web site!

Please visit, rate our samples, write some reviews for us & tell us what you
think.  Of course, we also hope you’ll (actually) purchase an item or two!
News of new releases, views from Zzaj, & music that runs the gamut from ild improvisation (Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Rotcod Zzaj) to thoughtful and timeless solo piano (John Alkins).

It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if you told ALL YOUR FRIENDS about this highly independent label, either!   Check it all out at


Check it out now the new millenium killer album “ART BLEEDS”
If you are interested, please write us back


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           The Human Race


Marita touched my ‘Very Merry’

That led to the poppin’ of a cherry.

Which was good…so good.


Now, if God is love and Satan sin,

Who’s idea was it that a gottle of gin

Should get me happy first, later sad,

We get together, change some water to wine,

Chitchat ’bout women fine.


Life can be good, like the Marita I had,

But, sometimes, live can drive you mad.

Is there an answer?  Are we garbage in space?

No need to worry, it’s just the human race.


Daniel S. Irwin





Money goes-

If I can’t be material I’ll

     Settle for celebrity


Fame corrupts-

If there is no fanfare I’l

     Collect broken hearts


Sex is ephemeral-

If they fear me in love they’ll

     Love me in hate


Opression leads to chaos-

If liberty is not maintained I’ll

     Renew myself in servitude


Slavery is abominable-

If I emancipate myself

     Will I be loved




Warm and cool

Summer and fall

Scorch the air

Tricle to the ground

Odd a little   original


Everyone loves to stare

Sister red brother yellow

Born out of fire

Grandchild of the sun

Some say hazardous

Others say fun

Normal a little   strange




On Monday

   My aunt’s boyfriend gave her a slap


On Tuesday

   A drug dealer offered me crack


On Wednesday

   A hooker gave me the clap


On Thursday

   My best friend’s brother got jacked


On Friday

   My girlfriend said she’s not coming back


On Saturday

   I got drunk and took a nap


Sunday I’m going to church with Mama.


Jarret Neal





What comes to your mind when you think of a politician

But that of a big fat cat

Useless, lazy, with nothing to do

But only to lay on their back and relax


They nip and pick at their fur

Biting the fleas of the people

hard working Americans fill their bowls

Overladen with the wealth of a nation.ealth of a natio

INTERVIEW with Pete Gershon, of “SIGNAL TO NOISE” magazine


Zzaj:  What was your “driving force” for starting STN?  Why did STN wind up in Burlington, Vermont?  Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate in NYC, or Boston?

I moved to Burlington VT in 1995 after graduating from Hampshire College in
Amherst, Mass, where I had been studying creative non-fiction.
Simultaneously, I was developing an interest in music that was initially
fueled by bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead, which taught me how to
listen to improvisation, before moving on to more jazz-based groups like the
Groove Collective, Charlie Hunter, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. I moved up to Burlington to be near friends and to throw myself into what was at the time an incredibly rich music scene — jazz, modern rock, bluegrass — all kinds
of great live music. I used to go see a group called the Jazz Mandolin
Project every month at a tiny volunteer-run coffeehouse down the block from
my apartment. They played for a suggested $3 donation… now they’ve been
signed to Blue Note and play in some pretty large halls. ViperHouse, James
Harvey’s groups, jazzgrass banjo player Gordon Stone — I used to go out and
see music 4 or 5 nights a week sometimes. Then a few of the clubs closed,
some local bands started touring nationally and others stopped playing
altogether, so things have trailed off a bit lately.

Around this time I also began writing jazz articles for an arts weekly in
Western Massachusetts, and they started asking me to cover some area free jazz events that were (and still are) being organized by Michael Ehlers of
Eremite records. I already knew a little about Ornette Coleman and Cecil
Taylor, but Ehlers’ label and series exposed me to some incredible musicians
like William Parker, Jemeel Moondoc and Raphe Malik and I started listening to and writing about those guys, too.

It was around the fall of ’97 when I started SOUNDBOARD (we changed the name a year later after encountering a previously existing Soundboard Magazine) because I felt there were too few outlets covering improvised & experimental music. It was originally intended to be a bimonthly regional rag alerting people to high quality live music happening in the area. I had no publishing or graphic design experience, but I knew how to write and I figured out the rest as best as I could. Over time we’ve become internationally distributed via Tower Records & other regional chains / distros, and content-wise we’ve gotten more deeply into covering the free jazz / loft jazz / new thing / AACM/ ecstatic jazz continuum, although we also cover electro-acoustic improv, traditional jazz, post-rock and jam bands, kozmigroov and modern classical.  Our writers are open-minded in their tastes and we’re really interested in exploring connections and overlaps between genres. And I feel that one of the most important functions we serve is to introduce younger listeners to the tradition of improvised jazz and therefore help grow the medium’s future audience… The jazz world isn’t always friendly to newcomers, so I feel like a young (27 y/o) guy like myself can do something to make it seem less intimidating for someone just starting to look into this stuff…

At this point would it make more sense for us to be based in Boston or NYC?
Sure it would. But I do like the vibe here in Burlington and larger cities
scare me, quite frankly. I’ve got a modem and e-mail, and get out of town to
see this music frequently, and we do bring some of it up here for live gigs
at our offices, so I manage to stay fairly connected and in touch with things.

Zzaj:  Having abandoned paper format (for the WWW), I know that most
‘zines (even e-zines) are a “labor of love”.  Does that still hold true for STN? 

Well, it’s an expensive thing, to do a print mag. We publish on white offset
stock with a full color glossy cover and that really adds up. We insist on
original photo shoots for all of our feature subjects, and that costs
something. We send 1000s of copies of the magazine all over the country and
the shipping is expensive. On the other hand, we sell a lot of ads because
advertisers get a really good response from our core audience of obsessive
music junkies. The bottom line is that we do still lose money, but given our
momentum so far I’m anticipating a more comfortable degree of financial
stability in the very near future. We are trying to run a responsible,
productive business that can support itself and that can at the same time
benefit the improv music network as a whole, by stimulating interest, sharing
knowledge and drawing new ears into the scene.

Zzaj:  Will you continue STN as a paper ‘zine, on the WWW (or both)?

If the goal is to transfer information, the Internet is the way to go. But
SIGNAL to NOISE is an integrated package: text, photos and layout that work together  to present our subject matter in a particular light. And at the end of the day, after looking at a computer screen for seven hours, I like to go
home and read something that I can hold in my hands, with large photos that
you can really look at, and pages you can really turn. You can take it and
read it before the gig, or on the bus, and then you can save it and read it
again in a couple of years. I think there are other people out there who like
that, too. At the same time, we do plan on beefing up our web presence (at this fall.

Zzaj:  I’ve noticed a bit more about “experimental”  musicians/techniques in the last couple of issues.  Is this an area  that STN  will continue to focus heavily on?

Absolutely. In a way, almost everything that’s covered in STN has an
“experimental” edge — musicians who are testing the boundaries and blending idioms. Electro-acoustic improvisation is one of the most intriguing
frontiers in new music, and there’s so much diversity there. Rest assured,
we’re going to keep covering the turntablists, the knob-twiddlers, the tape
loopers and the theremin-and-signal-processor duos. There’s some serious
future jazz history in those blips and creaks.

Zzaj:  Since my ‘zine is (primarily) focused on HOMEMADEMUSIC
producers, what words of wisdom do you have for them regarding
material they (may) submit to STN?
    Does STN review everything it receives for review, or are the stacks just too BIG for that?

Well, I’ll tell ya — we get a LOT of music sent to us. Easily 25 – 50
releases a week. We cover between 70 and 100 discs in each bimonthly issue.
Do the math, and you’ll see there’s a lot of stuff we can’t get to. I mostly
trust my writers to select those new releases that are most interesting,
important and noteworthy. If you’re Joelle Leandre, Terry Riley, or Joe
Morris, almost anything you put out is going to get reviewed. But we’ve also
covered many releases by lesser-known and less-established players.

In terms of “homemade music” — I would venture to guess more than half of
the discs we review aren’t printed in quantities above 1000 units (of which
half were probably promo give aways). However, we don’t review very many CD-R releases for the simple reason that we want the music we cover to be at least out there and available thru distros like Forced Exposure, North Country. etc. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but there’s so much stuff coming in we need to draw the line somewhere. I am going to implement a little summary column which at least mentions in brief some of the more interesting CD-Rs we get.

Zzaj:  Do YOU play music?  Do any of your staffers?

I can fumble may way round some blues scales if there’s a keyboard in front
of me, and I used to sing in an awful garage band in high school. Our
operations manager Jon Akland plays fretless electric bass in a a couple of
local groove/jazz/soul units.

Zzaj:  What is your definition for “good” improvised music?  Does it
really matter, or is that strictly up to the ear(z) of the improvisor?

Well, this is a tricky question. One can study a century’s worth of jazz
records and develop a refined sense of what works and what doesn’t, what’s
inventive and what’s derivative, which albums are groundbreaking or important in one way or another. To be truthful, my ears have been stretched so much that I like it whenever a musician takes it out there, experimenting with tempo and tonality, unleashing raw emotion, shaping a melodic or rhythmic line in an unanticipated way

The writers of Signal to Noise do evaluate music with an critical ear,
producing reviews that are analytical as well as descriptive. And music is so
subjective that there are people who will agree or disagree with any given
review you can pick out. In that sense I would venture that “good”
improvisation is more in the ear of the reasonably open-minded and/or
well-educated listener as opposed to the performer. Does someone with some
modicum of interest in or knowledge about the idiom, does he or she enjoy it,
or find something of interest or value?

Examples of my own favorite music: Andrew Hill, Captain Beefheart, TEST,
Steve Lacy, Soul Coughing, Albert Ayler, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Eric Dolphy, P-Funk, Bill Frisell, Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Zorn, Trane… the spirit mainfested by these musicians and more has inspired me and rewired my thinking for the better. A quote from bassist William Parker, which I believe to be germane:

“The point of music is to incite revolution, spiritually and politically.
Music should wake up human beings to live as deeply as they can. It should
help them to overthrow their old selves and become new people. When it’s
experienced on a high level, it can change people’s lives.”

I don’t know why I spend so much of my time thinking about this music, but I
love it’s history, I love its multifarious personalities, and I love the
feelings it inspires within me. That’s reason enough to consider it ALL
“good” music.

Thanks for your questions & for taking an interest in the magazine. If people
are interested in subscribing, they can order 6 bimonthly issues for $15/ppd
to: SIGNAL to NOISE, 416 Pine Street, Burlington VT 05401…



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Is your LIFE improvised?  Or are you a slave to the conventions of a society bent on “clubbing” you to death?  Stop and think about the word CLUB for a few minutes (“an association of persons for some common object“).  If yer’ background includes some kinda’ preppie nonsense about fraternities, the “ELKS”, “LIONS”, or other groups along those lines – you’ll prob’ly relate the word to th’ “high times” you had during college, or perhaps in the rotting institutions we call churches.

Think about CLUB in relation to it’s other context, though… “a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon“.  A way to hurt someone who doesn’t agree with you!  A way to POUND the krap out of a person with a belief contrary to yours!  Now, combine the 2 meanings – “an association of persons usually wielded as a weapon.”  Admittedly, that’s a “Zzaj-version” (i.e., perversion) of the meanings, but your deliberations might well lead you to the same conclusion I’ve come to (for many years now).

The concept is so ingrained in our society (& societies for many thousands of years now) that it seems perfectly allright, right?  What could be the harm in forming a group based on common beliefs?  In stating that the goals of the group are a, b, c and d?  It all sounds innocent enough, I suppose… but what do we teach our children when we participate in a “club”?  I believe the message that they perceive is “it’s OK to use force to make others conform”.  If you think that’s nonsense – what about the reports of extreme “hazing” at college campuses across our country?  It may not be true that all clubs resort to such extreme measures of violence… but it’s not necessarily (only) overt physical violence that causes the ruination & perversion of our youth.

“Exclusion” is just as powerful a tool as a blow to the head!  & (just) what do “clubs” do?  What about your local church club?  Don’t they look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do?  Say “little things” about them?  Make sure they don’t get invited to events that involve only “members of the club”? 

I believe “clubs” (in the sense of groups of people banded together) are for weaklings.  For those who have no life of their own.  No “goals” of their own.  People who must band together because they are afraid that their beliefs carry no weight. 

Of course, we all KNOW what the “next” club will be… a group of rabid raiders bent on the destruction of this Zzaj-philosophy of independence & improvised life!  Sign up TODAY!!!  🙂

THINK it OVER, volkz!