Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 52

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Issue # 52 REVIEWS

49 Nord – ANIMAL LANGUAGE:  This CD represents a totally new listen for us… some of the densest & thickest improv we’ve ever heard, from Copenhagen.  A live recording at the “Jazzhouse” there, this is one of the finest sessions I’ve ever heard.  The trio features guitars/percussion by Hasse Poulsen, tenor by Bertrand Denzler & drums/percssion from Christophe Marguer.  HEAVY power movements, guitar & percussives at the fore, with the sax furnishing the more “intimate” touches.  There is some purely raw energy that one doesn’t often find on live-recorded improv gigs anymore.  I was particularly impressed with the guitar work, but all three players are RIGHT IN TOUCH with the spirit of creativity!  This is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & (in fact) gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best improvised music”.  Contact at Unit Records, POB 53, ch-1789, Lugnorre, on the site at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Dan Susnara – ONE HANGDOG JUNEY MOON AT BHAGDAVAGITA RITA’S:  This is a tape, folks.  In from our collaborating friend Dan Susnara, over Chi-town way.  It has some names that you long-time readers will remember (from th’ heyday of home taping)… Ken Clinger, Greg Stomberg, K.D. Schmitz & (even) Don Campau.  There are some simply beautiful mixes on these trax!  Th’ tape has about th’ most psychedelic sound I’ve heard since th’ banana peels we used ta’ smoke.  Intricate compositions that will twist yer’ head around to th’ point where it will take a THOUSAND priests (& a junkyard winch) to get it back into shape!  Dan has become a master at weaving vocals in that keep the listener on th’ “edge”.  Some absolutely fine synth-works, & nice echo-vox that pan back & fro… this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  You haven’t heard music like this before… highly original & ultimately creative.  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

John Balint – PARADISE WITHIN:  This highly creative and involved CD will turn your ears around.  Title alone may have you thinking that it’s (just) another piece of “new age” trivia – but it delves much deeper than that, & you will find it enchanting from the opening bar!  Yes, it is “meditative”, and Balint does use (some) traditional keyboard forms… but his skill at weaving haunting little instrumental and vocal enchantments through the mix is apparent immediately.  He is also very sensitive to “playing for the moment”, and though these are composed pieces, I have no doubt (from listening through & through the album) that the majority of these are first takes.  Is it jazz?  Rather sorta’ leans that way, but there are so many other influences that you couldn’t pigeonhole it that strictly.  Is it contemporary?  Well, it’s very accessible, so I suppose you would put a big + sign as your answer.  What it really is – highly original and creative music that merits (without a moment’s hesitation) our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating.  This will be in th’ Zzaj-racks for many years to come!  Contact at 6 Saint Francis Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, via email to  or on the site, at   Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Halley – COYOTES IN THE CITY:  The trio on this CD is some of the best spontaneous jazz you’ll ever hear – bar none!  Rich’s tenor/alto sax & flute represent unbounded energy & Clyde Reed’s bass is rapid-fire lightning, but crystal clear on each & every note!  Drummer Dave Storrs percussion is flawless & the ultimate in punctual!  The session was recorded the day after a live gig, but the energy & musical communication remain high & clear, respectively.  My favorite track is the opener, “Green, Brown & Blue”, probably because it sounds totally improvised, but seems to carry the highest level of energy on the album!  When players are able to achieve this level of instinct in their playing, & keep the vibe going, listeners are in for a treat.  GREAT recording, too!  For those who love rampant reeds, explosive percussion & full-bodied bass, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Contact at Louie Records (which has Mr. Storrs at the helm, actually), 644 SW 5th St.,  Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

ONOFFON – YOUR MIND:  We (apparently) had this CD in thee bin quite some years back (along with their other production, “Surrender Now”, which did get reviewed in issue # 39)… got lost in all th’ moves, I reckon (sorry, Von).  After some recent correspondence with Von Babasin (bass, vox), he sent another copy for me to review.  Anyway, on to th’ music… some beautiful jazz-oriented music that any hip listener will be rockin’ to in only a couple o’ barz!  I fell in love IMMEDIATELY with Glen Garrett’s flute on the second cut, “Shadowglass”!  Don Lake’s harp is jus’ KICKIN’ on “Alley Want” (track 3) & will make yer’ think yer’ down in ‘dat Missisippi mud… lowdown & slinky!  These guys sound like they LOVE playin’ together, & (as most of you know) that kind of energy pleasures my ears more than ANY of that “claptrap” comin’ across th’ airwaves these days.  This is far more’n “gut level” playin’, tho’… these folks know how to milk their instruments to thee BONE!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listeners who get off on well-played funk’n bloozy jazz!  Contact at ONOFFON Productions, 12059 Hoffman St. Suite 104, Studio City, CA 91604, or visit their web site at Rotcod Zzaj

Pimienta Music Corp – CUBA SWINGS:  You BET it does.  Lovely little latin-flavored CD that will have you up & dancin’ only moments from th’ intro.  It’s an interesting combo… Ellington’s “Satin Doll”, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” in different time than you’ve ever heard!  Understanding Spanish would help, I’d imagine, but there’s clearly enough musical energy being furnished by the players/singers that it transcends any language barriers.  This is Pimienta’s first release, very pleasant & fun to listen to… gets our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz lovers who want a little “latin” in their traditional tunes.  Contact at POB 164833, Miami, FL 33116-4833, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Micky Saunders/Dan Susnara – SOMERSAULTING THRU THE NEW AGE:  Different rhythms & lots more vocals on this lil’ 3-tracker (EP) in from Dan’s Mumble Mumble label.  Th’ feature is Micky’s hard-edged vocals… poppy little 4 & 5 chord rawkers that’ll put a smile on yer’ face fer’ sure.  Th’ “theme” from th’ title seems most apropo, all thru & thru… SOMERSAULTING!   Dan joins in vocally with some nice harmonics, but his focus seems to be on th’ instrumentation this time around.  Th’ word that comes to mind on these toons is “cute”… not sure why, but it works.  The 8-trakkin’ (still) reminds me of some of th’ early Beatles stuph (like Rubber Soul), but it’s definitely “now” beats!  This ’round gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, ‘specially for ears that want a dose of nostalgia.  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

Emergency String Quartet – HILL MUSIC:  Some very pleasant listening (for those improvisationally inclined) on this excellently recorded CD in from “Spring Garden” music.  Bob Marsh (cello), from San Francisco is featured on this great string quartet session.  It takes “chamber music” to levels you haven’t quite imagined yet, especially if you haven’t been listening to some of the albums we’ve reviewed with Bob on them lately.  This particular outing (May, 2001) was recorded by Chicago’s own Bob Falesch (a name that will be familiar to many who read this magazine, from his festival work in the Chicago area).  CLEAR recording, something that is often not a part of these kinds of albums… I mean every little bow & turn on each instrument (Jeff Hobbs & Tom Swafford on violins, Bob on cello & Damon Smith on double bass) is captured as though you were right there in the room.  One of the best string albums I’ve heard/reviewed this year, it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as a great album to hail the New Year with!  Contact at/through James Stevens Promotions, 7318 Gladys Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj  (We are PROUD to announce that this CD is now available for credit card purchase at the Zzaj Productions catalog!  Click HERE, please!)

The Tone Sharks – CAVE SLEEPERS:  One of the reviewers called this grouping “a giant rhythm section”.  They’ve certainly got their percussive act together, but it goes much farther than that when you listen down & deep to it!  Basically a quintet that brings a sorta’ “big band phunk” sound to improvisation.  Page Hundemer provides some wonderful bass underpinnings throughout their experimental journeys, & there is some great trombone work by Brent Hayne.  We reviewed a percussion album by Dave Storrs last issue, & he really shows an understanding of “crisp” on this outing.  Tom Bergeron’s bari & alto sax work is (more than) intriguing, & Steve Willis guitars just RAWK right ON, people.  Many CD’s we’ve listened to that attempt to marry funk’n’percussives butcher it, ‘coz they emphasize the bass lines or the percussion too heavily… not SO here… perfect balance is achieved, & the spirit of improvisation stays totally alive throughout the album.  One of the best albums I’ve heard this year… gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & th’ “PICK” of this issue for “best phunk-improv”!  Contact at Louie Records (which has Mr. Storrs at the helm, actually), 644 SW 5th St.,  Corvalis, OR 97333, on their WWW pages, at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Medwyn Goodall – SNOWS OF KILMIMANJARO:  There are some new instruments on this wonderful CD from Medwyn.  We have, of course, reviewed many of his
works in these pages before, & been mightily impressed.  I especially enjoyed his flute work on this outing, as well as the acoustic guitars.  The
music was inspired as a tribute to a climb up the mountain (in the country of Tanzania) in the title in memory of Martin Friend, who was kidnapped in
that country & killed by terrorists.  Although there are many of the symphonic influences we have come to expect in Mr. Goodall’s compositions,
the subtle rhythmic undertones of Africa are there in full force and very pleasantly so.  A spirit of adventure and discovery seldom present on New
Age albums pervades the music & will have you dancing in your mind, if not on your feet.  This CD gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Norman & The Kind – THE EMPEROR WEARS NEW CLOTHES:  This is some of the best straight-ahead jazz I’ve ever heard.  Rich says it’s dedicated to th’ bass player, Jack Marshall, & I can hear why!  Some RAWK-SOLID bass playin’, that will keep your ears on their toes (so to speak).  Norman’s drumming is crisp & clear & very “laid back” (if that’s possible for Rich)… right on
target on every beat!  There is some excellent choppery displayed by keyboardist Casey Filson & wizard-like guitar by Jimmy Luttrell.  My favorite cut on th’ CD is their rendition of Miles’ “All Blues”… it’s done at a lightning-speed clip, but doesn’t lose any of th’ vibrancy of the original… it’s here that you realize how marvelous Norman’s drumming is –
he TALKS with these drums!  If nothin’ else, this outing will make ya’ FEEL like an emperor… joyful jazz for everyone, with a full dose of SPIRIT.
Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, along with an advisement… BUY THIS – NOW!  Contact at Plain Brown Wrapper Music, 25 NW 23rd Place, Suite 6,
Portaland, OR 97210-5999 or email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Alexander Kort – MOTHER OF PEARL:  Electronic cello that will carry you into the depths of the instrument on this CD.  Alexander plays skillfully in a way that will wrap you in a certain kind of melancholy… very symphonic, make you think you had just paid hundreds of $$$ for a concert.  This isn’t “hitter skitch” improvisation, rather a composed approach that comes across as very mellow & reflective.  He’s from Oakland, so I’m wondering if he’s familiar with our friend Ernesto Diaz-Infante in San Francisco – if he’s not, he SHOULD be – they would make beautiful music together, no doubt.  You will have to enjoy string-work to enjoy this, but if that’s your cup of java, you’ll agree when I declare it to be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at A Kort, 4401 San Leandro Street # 52, Oakland, CA 94601, via email to  or on the site, at   Rotcod Zzaj

Rodney – Self-titled:  Power-punch rawkin’ from Southern California on this CD (direct) from th’ group.  Hey – I LIKE IT.  Clean recording (lil’ punchy on th’ bass, but I s’pose thatz’ wot’ they wanted).  Those guitarz’ jus’ KICKIN’ AZZ, boyz.  They got an award down in L.A. for “best Indie single”, & I can hear why.  Ranges alla’ way from simple 3 chord power stuff to some nice balladry (those keyboard intros are FINE, Rodney…)!  Those drums are punchin’ a hole in my WALL, boyz’.  If yer’ lookin’ for Tuva throat-singing, you’ll have to go to another record store, but if yer’ wantz’ ta’ jus’ RAWK’n’GROOVE, get down AWN-IT!  This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those rawk-ers (still) among us.  This group merits a “HOT watch” notice… they’re goin’ places!  Contact via email to or on the .MP3 site at   Rotcod Zzaj

World of Tomorrow – III:  This ain’t th’ strangest I’ve heard our W.O.O. friends, but it IS “out”.  Wouldn’t have it any other way from Bonnie Kane & krew, anyway!  She’s up to antics per usua on sax, with Chris Morrow on trombone & other lil’ thangz… Tim Byrnes on trumpet, Cliff Ferdon doing drums & trujmpet & Scott Prato on bass.  Take one o’ those “maze” puzzles you see in th’ newspaper, wad it up into little balls… smooth it out again, draw about 3000 more pathways into it, then plop yer’self down in th’ middle of it (on lysergic sodium diathalimyde, mayhaps)… see if yer’ EVER get out – that’s what you’ll feel like after you ride th’ W.O.O.’s third train.  Is it improv?  Almost, but leans towards R&R.  Is it music?  Clearly, with a few insane twists & turns tossed in fer’ good measure.  Ms. Kane’s flutes on cut 3 (my favorite track, & the longest, at over 16 minutes) are sensitive through & through!  This should be a C-mas present fer’ yer’ improvising friends… gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us.  Contact at W.O.O.DIRECT, attn. Zee Yimou, Race Age, POB 249, Knickerbocker Sta., NYC NY 10002-0249, via email to  or on their site at   Rotcod Zzaj  

Jean-bernard le Flic – VOLUME 3:  Sweet little mix of jazzy finger-poppin’ tracks from Switzerland.  Unfortunately we didn’t find/see the promo material, tho’ there’s enough to tell you that the CD featured Ian Gordon-Lennox (brass), Claude Jordan (flutes, synth & programming) & Claude Tabarini (drums & vocal).  The originals (as it so often seems to be) had th’ real PUNCH, especially “The Moslem” (track 8).  Dark & foreboding in a really energetic “Arabian Knights” sorta’ way.  Driving undercurrents, wonderful horns on top of it all.  Cut 4, “Hannibal Crossing The Alps” was full of energy, too, very strong & well played – elephants marching in triple time, you know.  You will have to be dedicated to something new in your listening, but you’ll find it quite enjoyable, I know.  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer.  Contact at 41, rue Plantamour, CH-1201, Geneva, Switzerland, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Dave Fuglewicz – LIQUID AUDION:  Those boyz’ down in Roswell, NM ain’t got NOTHIN’ on our madly tapin’ friend Dave (in hiz ‘umble abode down Georgia way – Roswell, by gawd!).  If you haven’t heard terror lately (& I’m NOT talkin’ ’bout short sound bytes from thee Twin Towers), this will DO th’ TRICK!  A whirling dervish of ever spiraling noize that will tear that dam ROOF off, people!  If yer’ were on blue dot, you’d LOSE IT.  Sheer walls of noize, a vortex you’ll never escape, an absolute black hole affair.  & I (simply) LOVED it!  This one doesn’t have th’ proper warning labels on it, however… “NEVER drive down th’ ro-ad with this playing”!  For those who dig the demented, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  (Editorial side note:  GOT to get Dave & I hooked up with EDI & ’99 Hooker… we would BREAK th’ planetary barriers!)  If you’re more inclined toward C-mas karols… DON’T GET THIS!  Contact at 360 Sheringham Ct., Roswell, GA 30076, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

The Smirking Herbert – TOO CHUBBY FOR BALLET:  Where DID this dam tape come from?  References to England, big egg on th’ front cover, & some WEIRD mixes… highly energetic… prudently psychedelic – AH, there’s th’ keyword… shoulda’ known… it’s from Dan Susnara.  He’s got Greg Stomberg & Dan Nordquist doing some spooky spoken-word stuff, lots of strange cut-ups weaving in & out.  Sound quality is PERFECT!  Dan’s been diddlin’ with them dials!  Movin’ on in to th’ 21st, no doubt; phunky, phunky!  Th’ (musical) ideas fly furry, at hyper speed, almost.  Nothin’ gets (too much) inna’ groove, it’s cut & dodge all th’ way through… & that’s a COMPLIMENT, Dan!  This is one of the most unique musical experiences I’ve had in 2001 (& Dan/others know I’ve had some PRETTY damned UNIQUE musical experiences)!  I just luv this tape, maybe ‘coz it reminds me so much of Thomas Dolby’s stuff; ergo, it not only gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but th’ “PICK” of the year for “most creative music”!  Contact at 7806 S. Kilpatrick, Chicago, IL 60652   Rotcod Zzaj

Kelly Zullo – THIN LINE:  Here’s a wonderful lil’ folk-rocker in from Kelly, down Nashville way.  The CD & accompanying press kit presents a very nice D.I.Y. feel, through & through.  Th’ music suffers nothing from th’ home recording (not that it would, of course), in fact this sounds (far) better than many pro-studio recordings I’ve listened to this year (which means
Kelly took a lot of time to get it right before melting it all down…  kudos, Kelly)!  She has a lyrical style that (in some ways) reminds me of Janis Ian, tho’ her vocals come across as much more “southern”!  She plays all originals, & all th’ (acoustic & electric) guitars – with HIGH energy!   Spirit jus’ SHININ’ through on all the songs, very enjoyable & will reach
out & touch ya’!  My favorite tune on here was “He’s With Me”, the opening track… had th’ most “grab”, if you can dig what I mean!  For anyone who enjoys well painted word pictures with fine music, this gets our MOST HIGHLY
RECOMMENDED!  Contact through Kelly’s site, at, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Straylight – STRAYLIGHT:  We first heard this group several years back on a tape submission for the Olympia Experimental Music Festival.  This is their
first CD release.  You must be in to the out in order to enjoy this.  Dense & thick sound sculptures, rich improvisations & long cuts… just wot’ th’ rotcod ordered fer’ yer’ trip!  Tracks 2-6 were performed live at the Knitting Factory, segregated into separate cuts for easy indexing.  Their spectrum is wide, all th’ way from noise wall stuph to heavy underbeat with sculptures on top.  Headphones are more’n a “recommendation”, they are (like) a “requirement”.  Intense listening experience, very well performed! Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us who like their improv on the outer edge. Normals will shy away, as this requires an adventurous listening spirit.  Features Charles Cohen (Buchla music easel), Jason Finkelman (percussives) &
Geoff Gersh (guitar).  Contact them at POB 1015, Canal Street Station, NY, NY 10013, on the website at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Ed Littman – SPLATT:  We first reviewed Ed’s material in issue # 47… that outing was a lot more bluesy… this setting starts off with some very out there bass/loop stuff.  Very improvisational, still pinned in that great ol’ blues style, but nuthin’ yer’ can nail down to specifics – just th’ way we LOVE it! Ed’s playin’ against/with a trio, bass (Danny Zanker) & drums (John Bollinger), & they’re TIGHT as a dry drumhead.  Some o’ these cutz’ sound like somethin’ Uncle Frank (Zappa) heard/dreamed as background fer’ his worst nitemares – & that puts ’em in th’ “Zzaj HALL OF FAME”!   Cut 11, “Swank”, is my favorite, slinky in rhythm, guitar sneakin’ in & out, nice & jazzy!  In fact, that’s th’ impression I get thru th’ whole album… lots of different tempos, real variance in style (with high energy for th’ playing from th’ opener till th’ last bar) and a jaded kind o’ jazz that will give any adventuresome listener a challenge!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  This is a great guitar improv set – definite KEEPER!  Contact at 250 W. 10th St., # GF1, New York, NY 10014, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Don Campau – GUARANTEED INJECTION COMFORT OR YOUR MONEY BACK:  Looks like Chris Phinney issued this CD of one of Don’s grand efforts ’round ’99.  Those familiar with underground artists will recognize Campau as one o’ th’ “grand-daddies” of this home music/tape phenomenon.  I’ve listened to a lot of music from his label over these many years, & “INJECTION” is among th’ best!  Th’ electric guitars are krankin’ out some H-O-T moves, & he’s got some great chopped-up beats goin’ on behind his playing!  Lots to listen for, new discoveries each time you listen through… do it with th’ phones on!  “Dining On The San Andreas Fault” was my favorite cut on th’ whole album, because o’ th’ backbeat goin’ on down under it (wonder if that has anything to do with th’ title?).  For all lovers of rawkin’ home-produced music with FUN as it’s main ingredient, this come MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact via the website at, email to or snail to PO Box 9162, Santa Rosa CA 95405   Rotcod Zzaj

Fondling Giblets – #WUN:  Th’ musick on this CD (in from Bret Hart’s Instrumentales Records) will have you reachin’ fer’ yer’ Uzi or yer’ asprin… list of players far too long to itemize here, but th’ name that sticks out is Charles Rice Goff!  If yer’ “wicked”, don’t expect to get any rest while THIS one is spinning… you’ll be wrapped in it from head ta’ toe!  Very industrial strength, feels (at times) like gargantuan steel forges coated in sticky glue, tryin’ to dig deep into your brain cells.  If you were on krank, you’d be running to yer’ shrink.  Lots of nice long pieces, diversionary dances to do away with yer’ doldrums.  There are many listeners who will find themselves unable to cope, but those who love the search for new sonic realities will groove on this “symphony of strange”.  Contact through the WWW pages at (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, USA   Rotcod Zzaj

Renzi/Weinstein/Kamaguchi – DREAM LIFE:  Traditional improvised jazz that will settle you right into their groove!  Crisp recording & well focussed playing from this wonderful trio will be a genuine treat for your ears.  Renzi’s tenor sax is penetrating without being (at all) obtrusive… Masa Kamaguchi’s bass traces pathways for th’ other two players (& the listener, of course) that are clean & loose… & Jimmy Weinstein’s drums pull it all together… tightly integrated music that will inspire players & listeners (alike) to new heights!  Th’ energy & excitement cannot be avoided, even by th’ most obtuse listener.  The title track is the longest, and a fine example of original composition… intricate, well enunciated & (at the same time) very accessible.  If you enjoy jazz that moves in new directions, you’ll agree when I rate it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Get this one!  Contact through FTC, 8306 Wilshire Blvd, # 544, Beverly Hills, CA, or email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Odyssey 5ive – ODYSSEY 5IVE:  This CD came in to us after we had moved back to Washington, about 2 weeks after we had moved from Michigan.  I can’t tell from the letter (or the .mp3 site, at ) if this is solo work, but it’s most interesting.  Looks and feels/sounds like home-production… drum machine, synth, some guitar tossed in with th’ vox.  Very pleasant to listen to, based (for the most part) on loops.  There are some sections that remind me of tapes I heard Eric Hausmann perform on in the early ’80’s, tho’ this musical style (from Michael Kirson Goldapper) is closer to Pink Floyd… that kind o’ thing.  You can easily get lost in th’ floating backgrounds Michael paints sonically – & that’s a good thing!  One thing I didn’t dig on as much was the echo-vox thing… I mean, a little swatch would be fine, but it carries on too long.  The other minor criticism is that the only place I could get/see a track listing was on the .mp3 site mentioned above.  Recommend (even) the demos have some kind of cover & label on them, Michael.  Those little things aside, I (still) give this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who enjoys music that will make you float&groove.  Be sure & send us yer’ NEXT one, too, ‘k?  Contact at 29500 Franklin Rd., #211, Southfield, MI 48034, at the website above, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Scotty Irving/Bret Hart – DUETS VOLUME 1:  This CD came in (back) in August this year.  I’d only heard Scotty on drums prior to this, so his acoustic & electric guitar work was new to these ears.  Bret added E-bow to the mix – with very interesting outcomes indeed!  Some sections (particularly the guitar) sound like flamboyant flamencos, other stretches (track 5) like a roomful of bee-stingers doing ballet.  This is highly energetic improvised creativity… if you’re looking for something different, this is the absolute TICKET  to oblivion!  OTOH, if yer’ in “normal” node/mode, you’ll go elsewhere.  From our perspective (admittedly quite jaded when it comes to sonic entertainment), this rates a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who wants to experience sounds they haven’t heard before.  Contact through the WWW pages at (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, USA   Rotcod Zzaj

Francisco Lopez – FRANCISCO LOPEZ:  Francisco & I have only met once (briefly, outside of Entropy Studios, in Hamtramck, Michigan, a couple of years ago), even though I’ve reviewed & listened to his works (mostly tapes back then) since around 1989 (or so).  He handed this CD off to me as an intro to his current work(s)… there was no title for the CD, not title for the tracks… just an address/site that now appears to have vanished as well.  The sounds on the album are sort of “wall of noise” (tho’ not “drone”) that will simply overwhelm your aural appendages (& other parts of you, possibly).  You must become absorbed in the sound to get (anywhere close to) “next to it”.  It is not a “traditional” CD, and requires intense listening.  Once you’re down with it, however, you will find some beauty down below.  This is not “classifiable”… it’s not “noise”, it’s not “industrial”… it IS Francisco!  VERY interesting sculptures, gives a whole new meaning to the generation of sound!  Since I’m not sure if the street addresses are good right now, I’ll just list the current email I have for contact –   Rotcod Zzaj

Hermanos Guzanos – A NIGHT IN GUZBURG:  Now, here’s a “blast from th’ past”.  I remember hearing/reviewing Hermanos material WAY back (was it early ’90’s stuff?  Can’t remember that far back).  This stuph is RAWK-in’!  Lyrics on th’ opening cut by another vet of th’ tape underground, John Bartles.  I’m not sure why/how this came to us by way of ORANGE ENTROPY records… must assume that they’re digitizing for Guzanos now.  & that’s a GREAT thang… ‘coz this twisted (Beefheartian) rock stuff NEEDS to be preserved.  There are sections, though, where th’ mike feedback is deafening, so keep yer’ speakers turned down until you’ve got a handle on it.  Takes NUTHIN’ away from th’ great energies in this music, though!  Group members listed are Gary Wray, Darrell Draeger & Brian James Riedel (with Tom Ferranti & Andy Rey), tho’ there are no specific credits… it would be nice to know who was playin’ what!  At any rate, if yer’ into hard-core underground rawk with a PUNCH, you’ll not object when I label this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at Orange Entropy Records, c/o Stephen Zimmerman, 327 Evanston Dr., East Windsor, NJ 08520, or on/through the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

William Roper – JUNE TEENTH:  Very strange tuba jazz on William’s debut CD, in from AsianImprov records.  Composed improvisation with a bouncy & bright spirit throughout.  It is a truly interesting combination… asian instruments support many of William’s pieces, & (of course) his tuba stands out in front with little effort.  I haven’t (ever) heard quite such an interchange, & that’s saying quite a lot (for as much/many music(s) as I listen to)!  It is the oriental-influenced cuts that really capture your attention (at least that was true for me).  Track 4, “Kagami Jishi”, is an arrangement of a traditional tune (by the late Glenn Horiuchi)… it was my favorite tune on the album & best exemplifies the odd zones that Roper’s tuba moves the music into.  If you’re looking for straight-up jazz, you’ll seek something else, but if (as is true for most readers of this ‘zine) you want something you haven’t heard yet – you will agree with me as I declare this MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  A fine album!  Contact at 1002 Marcheta St., Altadena, CA 91001, or via email to   The album is available for purchase at    Rotcod Zzaj

The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Duo – THE PRESENT GIFT:  Only one word can describe this CD – (phroggin’) H-O-T!  One thing that makes it come across that way (methinks) is the crystal clear recording!  Levin’s horn(s) (tenor sax & bass clarinet) start th’ (real) dialogue off right on th’ first cut!  These 2 have a level of communication down that most players can only dream about.  We’ve reviewed them before, issue # 47 (which was a trio, I believe).  Joel’s piano doesn’t take a “back seat”, either, because (like I said) this is the TWO of them talking.  The other thing that’s impressive (for me) is that th’ LISTENER isn’t left out of this conversation… it’s not just th’ two of them speaking with each other – you can hear them talking to you!  Ike’s clarinet contrasts beautifully with wooden flute by Futterman on track 4, “Arrival”.  My favorite track was “Coolin’ In” (the last cut)… makes great use of silent spaces to emphasize th’ high energies expressed once they get MOVIN’ – & I just LOVED Joel’s solid piano on this tune!  Those listeners who especially dig improvised musics that aren’t “th’ same notes over & over” will dig th’ creativity of this duo to th’ point where you’ll agree (with me) that this is (not only) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, it also gets th’ “PICK” of this issue for “best improv duo”!  Contact at Drimala Records, POB 69044, Hampton, VA 23669-9344, online at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj


So the skeleton walks up to you with the money (he’s heard you can be very
easily bought.)  Naomi is  turning around in her white butterfly dance,
reaching  home with motions as  ashen as clouds.  The lover walks through,
still smelling like the devil&you don’t know what do: the offer is
tempting, the job is fine, but something about this place is
disarming.  Maybe it’s the fact you feel like a visitor; maybe it’s the
force which permeates the air.  So you walk away, with the laughter
rattling in your ears like bones.

A crow speaks to you on the way out: “You did the right thing, you
know,” he says.  He has  wily eyes.  His raspy voice is the sound of
smoke. He is standing on a shovel which is wedged in the ground.  “I’m
digging your grave,” he tells you nonchalantly. “I hope it will be done by
the time you die.”
Andrew Penland, 2001


James Dean saw the gypsy princess
in the sun of St. Andrew’s saddest
summer, where snakes wandered through
a lake of holy water, and every dreamer
realized the tightrope strung across
this life (to be walked too late
in the age.)

the air orgasmed, full of circus tickets;
calendars winked conspiratorily at clocks
seconds ran away from every passing day
and the judge found every firefly unguilty.
cigarette smoke haunted the air like regrets
of ghosts (whispers in French.) the summer faded
(all summers do) and when James Dean

found his princess again, she was an angel
who had given up smoking and sex.  the music was new and
heartbreakingly pure; spring brought echoes of a ripple in
the stars, a prophecy of kisses, a pantherish night.
you could choke on the taste of these questions,
whose colors are secrets in the painting of this:
flowerful, soft and imperfect as the memory
of the summer’s last sunrise before autumn falls.

Andrew Penland, 2001



as angels decay
they are rebuit
with parts
from dolls
and broken watches

and sent to slowly
fade away
in a freakshow’s

where they watch
a (c/k)at  (cheshire/krazy)
jump over golgotha
like evel knievel

and unbeknownst to them
the audience behind
is staring into them.

(they are
the freaks.)

Andrew Penland, 2001

BIO:   my name is Andrew Penland; I live in Concord, North Carolina.  I work in an
art supply warehouse.  I enjoy cats,sweet tea and grasshopper cookies.   Check out my website by clicking on my name, above!


From Illumination Millennium:

The Mannequin in the Shop Window

Can not touch her, plastic face, dreaming she is alive
Glass window between us, mannequins are lively if you believe
Untouchable women heighten desire, quiet passion can thrive,
No fear of being stung, live women swarm like bees in a hive,

Speaking to a wall of a woman, satisfies needs to be heard
Her silent stare demands sex, live women never say that word,
Mannequins are like other women who lie still making love like dead fish,
Seeking a woman different from reality, every man’s wish.

Fantasy girl, low cut dresses pearls, lace lingerie peeking,
Control her every move, a human doll, inhibition weakening,
Her wooden expression comes alive on a Sunday country drive,
Passion from our fiery hearts melts plastic burning us alive.



Please, blow up buildings in the name of killing technology, kill me,
Clog my traffic with a picket line to save the rain forest, Someday I’ll get
Raise my gas price to keep me from driving destroying ozone, I can walk,
Ban freon so the atmosphere can regenerate, I will fry in the heat,
release animals from the test labs, so I can die from Cancer Alzheimer’s
Take away hamburgers and all meat, spare animals, I can starve,
Take away marijuana, I can go blind from Glaucoma, die from Aids,
Make sex illegal, so my name will die out,
I can live in a closet to protect you from my dick,
Ban cell phones, I can live without interrupted meals and brain cancer,
Ban cars, I can live without BMW Mercedes luxury, driving me down,
killing me in the street, on foot  pedestrians, hunted, endangered species,
Ban electricity, living in the dark, reading, eating by candlelight, new
of love under dead lights, no ringing phones interrupt.


Fucking Gas Guslers

You fucking gas guzzlers paying two dollars a gallon
Are destroying this world.  Park your four-door luxury
and hit the goddamn pavement for once.  You work
in Santa Ana raping the poor, after work drive to Emerald
Bay an hour away by fucking nature killing Toll Roads.
South County Assholes driving to the south
One to a car, toting cell phones smoking the dope
of this age, Land Rovers eating 10 mpg gas,
All terrain Vehicles too large to fit in lanes
clog our smoggy skies with the shit from your
vomit reeking asshole of a tale pipe. Fuck Henry Ford
with a rusty tail pipe, a criminal who invented cars.



Psychics Wanted

Are you stuck in a dead end job?
Have you been able to predict the future?
Join Psychic University
We will teach you to see the future
Read palms, see through clothing, x ray vision,
Are you a gypsy wandering the country side
barely making a living as a carnival freak
prostituting your body
to bearded ladies and carnival barkers
Psychics, Astrologers, Tarot, Readers needed.
Earn Big $$. Work from home. Set own hours.
Please call for info.


Standing on poetry

Stand on a soapbox with a heart full of poems
find words perfectly aligned
in stanzas beaten and cut to the pearl,
never pausing, fearless when spoken, Poetry
is  lightning. Slam and stomp lyrics to sear metaphors
into the brain.  When Shakespeare
stands on the shoulders of sonnets, poems sing
from mouths of icons like Hamlet, just as God stood
on mount Ararat and slammed poetry, in 3 minutes or less,
without props, God spoke to Moses who chiseled poems
on tablets, undying poetic commandments,
if poetry is the chosen word, invigorate my poem
with the strength of David, immortalize these words
flying from my mouth to slay Goliath, here I stand in the Coliseum,
to kill or be killed, I am a slam poet,
Poems spoken in this life echo in the next,
Your day in the sun has come if you stand
on the shoulders of poetry, follow these poets
into greatness, speak the immortal lyrics.

Submitted by Howard Yosha… Howard also has a book, “Illumination Millenium”.

mars is warming up

maniac sunlight left my back like a massuese suddenly cut down by gunfire

the freshly paved road confused the sky with it’s superior blackness

our generation used to fuck just to keep from speaking

typewriter ribbons rippling in spiderwebs

saliva fell from popped balloons

kicking a beercan full of teeth

android marathon postponed

streaks of bright red lightning ended the drunk horizon & all it’s flags.



dream schedule

my dream schedule on every subway wall

like memorized jazz

filled with car-commercial memories i sleep in plastic seats

until a few gunshots paint the window

and a widow in a newspaper overcoat

carries me away in a hidden pocket

of the screaming personal ads.



armchair violin

spindly golden gears eat my furniture

long notes give me a mask of silence

music makes the soles of my feet

sensitive as eyelids

i eat a fresh pear off a cold concrete garage floor

draw lipstick angels on softening flaking bathroom mirrors

& dust my heart with a girl’s dandruff

on a pillow acres wide that meets my naked hands & knees



To walk in Maximus’s Afterlife


(based on the final scene-Maximus’s death-in the film Gladiator.)

to be truly of free will.
to be free to walk forever
without tiring, without fears
in Maximus’s Afterlife,
no longer slave and gladiator
subject to perverse wills
from multitudes of petty emperors,

to walk free under a spirit sky,
no heaven, no hell,
no Lord, no Satan, no Jove, no Juno,
no cruel lots cast before one’s timid breath heaves,
no snarling tigers swiping from chains,
no clay empires forged by red and grinning hammers,

to walk beneath a spirit Sun,
kissed by gentle heat,
to feel spirit winds rolling gently
upon an innocent, scorned face,
to glide one’s hand over gentle stalks of wheat,
to hear eternal laughter from Yesterday’s crucified children.

to be truly of free will.
To be free to walk forever
In Maximus’s Afterlife.

Robert Betts, copyright, 2001.


“Days Before Xmas”

Candy canes
Shaped by nervous tounges
Into spears

Brent M. Parker


“Pear-Mango Passion Shampoo”
Copyright 2001 Brent M. Parker

I turn the silver handle towards red
But my shower water’s
Losing it’s grip on warmth
So turning up the heat
Results only
In a steady temperature.

I know I
Poured too much shampoo.
It smelled so damn good
I couldn’t stop myself.

I haven’t had a pear in years
I’ve never tasted a mango.

I’ve forgotten what
I was going to wash next.


Brent M. Parker



INTERVIEW with Zdenko Ivanusic

ZZAJ:   We reviewed a CD you had produced, the “Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet”.  Is that the only group you’re with, or are there more?

ZI: No, there are some more groups I work with. Besides my full time job in the CROATIAN ARMY WIND ORCHESTRA as a principal alto and soprano, leading the “Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet” and  my own jazz trio , I play in a smooth jazz group “SWING AGAIN“. Recently I have done some recordings as a guest artist on new albums of the Croatian pop-rock artists Bruno Kovacic and Mile Kekin. Also I play lead alto in a CROATIAN MUSIC INSTITUTE BIG BAND and sax quintet under Zeljko Kovacevic’s (tenorman in National Radiotelevision BIG BAND) leadership.

ZZAJ:  Davey Williams & LaDonna Smith (fine improvisers) have visited your country many times in the past 10 years (or so).  Are you familiar with them?

ZI: I heard about them, but am not familiar with their work and I am not sure they were in Croatia. Actually they played in Slovenia, a country near Croatia, also former Yugoslavia republic/until 1991. Maybe they played on ZAGREB BIENALE (contemporary music festival), but I can’t remember.

ZZAJ:  Are you strictly a composer, or do you play improvised music(s) also?

ZI: At first place I am jazz saxophone player (although I studied and got degree in classical saxophone performance), which means that I play improvised music. Also, like most jazz musicians I do writing my original songs and compositions and most of them are jazz compositions based on improvisation. I benefited from the classical study regarding theory knowledge, contemporary composition and form, because the greatest part of classical saxophone literature is contemporary music or 20th century classical music. Stylistically I am contemporary jazz artist and I do not shrink from avant-garde.

ZZAJ:  The Internet has been helpful to many musicians who have made it online.  Has it helped you in selling/distributing your music?

ZI: It helped me a lot in promoting myself and my music. I made a lot of contacts through the Internet and after all I am not well known in music business globally, but internet made me less anonymous. Now I am working on my upcoming CD and the Internet will be great tool in promoting and selling it.

ZZAJ:  The emphasis of my ‘zine is on “high energy” music, without regard to genre, because we feel that is the music that can help the world most.  What are your thoughts on that philosophy?

ZI: Yeah, high energy is the most important thing for me. I respect good craftsmanship, technique and all parameters involved in music, but music without energy is vain. Also, under the term “energy” I also consider passion,  struggling (in improvisation, you know what I mean) and dedication to oneself conception and originality.  I listened recently to a young metal band. They were kids and I was enthusiastic with their playing and energy. I didn’t hear any selfishness or egoism, they all played for the band creating extraordinary energy and this is what I respect the most.

ZZAJ:  Have you (or will you) perform(ed) in the United States?  In view of the recent attacks in NYC, are you more (or less) inclined to want to perform here now?

ZI: I never performed in the States and so far there are no any plans or schedules for performing engagement or tour. Regarding recent attacks in NYC, I’m not less interested in visiting the States and NYC especially. You know, terrorism is a global threat and the fact is that nobody is completely safe anywhere. So we should follow our destiny.

ZZAJ:  Many of the readers of this ‘zine have their own home studios.  Do you have any experience with home recording?  If so, please describe it… if not, is there a reason?’

ZI: So far I don’t have home studio, but I am planning in near future to complete and update my computer and organize a home studio.

I sent you Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet’s home recording, but it was recorded live with stereo mic directly to mini disc. I am not in home studio technology yet, but it will be and should be my next step.

ZZAJ:  Please decribe an average “day in the life” for you as a musician in Croatia.

ZI: I usually get up about 7 am, unless I had late gig last night, I do my warm-ups on saxophones and at 9 am begins rehearsal with Symphonic Wind, if there is no rehearsal this day, I practice or have rehearsal with DLSQ until launch. At the afternoon usually shows up some recording sessions or rehearsals with other bands. If I have a gig in the evening I do sound checks. If there is no this kind of activities in the evening, I go home and do my composing, mail and spend some time with my girlfriend, or hang out and drink a few beer with friends.

ZZAJ:  Any “words of wisdom” for aspiring musicians?

ZI: At first do your homework and form your skills and craft. In my opinion, one should have recognizable original sound and concept, and have to be strongly convinced in what he or she is doing. Listen to all the music and artists, be influenced, but do not copy anyone, because this is the worst thing you could do. Nowadays, in the beginning of  new millenium, it seems that cannot be any originality at all, but only variations of something someone done before. In a way we have to agree with that, but still there is a space for new directions, I believe.

Best Regards!
Zdenko Ivanusic
Djalskog 82
10 000 Zagreb
tel: +385 (0)98 279 243


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Cassette culture as a prelude to the Internet Audio Arts Community


By Robin James & Rotcod Zzaj

     Many months back, I invited Robin to do a “collaborative” article with me about analog/tape vs. digital formats.  He (very faithfully) sent it to me within a couple of weeks… & I let it lay for about 2 months… then got ZAPPED with the layoff in September… then moved back to Washington state… & NOW read through it & say… W-O-W… this will WOIK!  WE (both) look forward to your feedback on our (somewhat ancient) diatribes about thee “good ole’ daze”….  (ROBIN is in bold… “i” am in italics…)

These days it is possible to be heard and collaborate using an array of digital technology. You can make a digital recording and then email the file to anyone who has the same kind of software that can “play” the recording.  Though many would be surprised at the amount of “underground” artists who still use the analog tape as the medium for capturing and moving the music back & forth to each other.  That analog tape STILL has a tremendous amount of value, with it’s better ability to preserve the “true” sound of a recording…

In the old days, before the CD, before the Internet, before MP3, we small-time big-idea artists had only the cassette. The Philips cassette at that time was held together with five tiny screws. Now the same class of cassettes only comes with heat-welded shells, no tiny screws. What good are the tiny screws? If something were to happen to the tape, for example, if it were to get caught in the tape player and break or get stretched, the tape could be opened and the surviving part of the recording could be salvaged. I have seen many ingenious adaptations of running the tape from one recorder or player to another to create wonderful regenerative loops and other
effects.   Cassette tape loops require much patience, but they can function to create incredible effects for the sonic artist.  Though we are missing the “screws” these days, I think the “goal” of artists going the digital route is to GET THE TAPE in hand & (probably using a 4-track) get it melted/recorded down to a .wav file.  Once it’s on the computer, many of the manipulations that used to be performed with tape loops, etc., can be accomplished with software.  The KEY POINT, though, is to get it ON THE HARD DRIVE & manipulated (any way you want) before doing the final cleanup/digitization.  I’ll admit, though, those screws WERE A LIFESAVER sometimes…

Basically the idea is still the same, an aspiring sonic artist, which includes all kinds of musicians as well as the sound-poets and “others” which are impossible to classify; you make your recording, you decorate it appropriately, and then you send it around to clubs and venues where you want to perform live, and get gigs that way. Someone there at the club would
get the recording over to the local college or community radio station and get it played on the air, signaling the people in the community that they might expect this kind of sound to be heard, at such and such a place and time.  As the net expands (& an amazing & rapid expansion it IS), these kinds of “auditions” will likely be all digital… .mp3 or .wav files posted to a lonely server somewhere, waiting for th’ right “agent” to come along & listen.  We (th’ undergound artists) are still “impossible to classify”, & becoming ever more so, methinks!  & that is a GOOD thing… it sort of pulls back away from th’ “Star Syndrome” thing… the only DISadvantage to that, actually, is for the listener… they have so many choices these days that it’s often nearly impossible to find something they really LIKE!

Decorating the cassette is so much more fun than decorating a CD. With a CD you get the label that goes on the disc, and you get the jewel box inserts. You do have the option of a booklet that fits in the jewel box or you can create a larger object that can contain the CD. With cassettes, you have the two sides of the cassette itself, you have the J-sheet which goes in the box
and is folded in various ways, plus you have the inserts. The advanced cassette publishers go further, creating an assortment of objects, gee-gaws and little pieces of paper to put into the mix, contained in a larger box or plastic bag, etc.   Ah, b’well… here we diverge, friend Robin.  I do agree that the cassette culture inspired many ingenious designs, but I believe that same inspiration is beginning to take shape for those of us who do CD’s now, too.  The front insert for a CD can be folded in multifarious manners, too… it can be printed on both sides, so bios, “gee-gaws” & other art-i-facts can be placed (digitally, o’ course) on th’ inside.  Personally, I don’t like the booklet solution, but many choose that route.  With clear back cases, there are many neat things that can be done with a double-print, there, too… so that once the owner takes the CD out to play it, they are (often) surprised by an additional piece of art… like the cassette, these little nuances can be a pleasant “bonus” for the person who purchases the CD… while I don’t disparage the creativity that went into many cassette artists’ works, I believe we will see many unique variants on jewel case inserts in the coming years… not to mention the fact that as we become better at the craft, we should/will be able to insert multimedia surprises for the consumer, too.  THINK of th’ possibilities!

To make a run of 200 cassettes, you listen to the recording 200 times, making sure that the beginnings and ends are precisely where you want them (cassettes can vary somewhat in the amount of tape inside, by moments or minutes, translated as inches or feet of tape). Then you gather your materials: photos, poster art, band paraphenalia and memorabilia, and make a
run to the copy machine (over break at work, or at Kinkos, or the grocery store, library, wherever such a machine can be found), advanced cassette decorators would print onto sticker-paper, sometimes color copy machines would be available too. But back then color copiers were very rare animals indeed.   I think that’s probably an argument in FAVOR of digitized music(s), don’t you, Robin?  I mean, I’ve been through the “listen to it over & over”, too… once you’ve got your recording/mix down on a digital product, it will record the same way OVER & OVER… withOUT having to spend hours… + which, in the old days, there was always the hazard of gettin’ a little too phroggy & attempting to record an 80 minute tape onto a 60 minute receptable?  Remember those nights?  If you FORGOT to label the tape correctly & couldn’t remember how LONG the tape (really) was – you were in a HEAP o’ trubble, yah?

After the materials are gathered and prepared, usually in front of the tv, while the cassette copies are being dubbed, the assembly line would begin, each tape is processed, inserts inserted, plastic boxes stuffed and sealed with a bit of cellophane tape.  The most interesting tapes prepared in this manner have little sculptured stands that hold the tapes and must sit by themselves next to the rest of the collection. By far the most tapes all conform and fit into the shelves with the rest of the tapes.

DO NOT paint the inside of the cassette boxes. They look really cool, but sooner or later the paint comes off and goes into the tape player, from there into the inner mechanisms of the player causing the premature demise of the machine.  Hmmm… wonder how one would/could go about “painting” the inside of a jewel case?  There’s no QUESTION but what that WOULD be “hazardous to the health” of your CD player…

Cassettes were/are recorded in various fashions, the classic method is to put the portable tape recorder (aka blaster or boom-box) closer to the vocalist than to the bass drum, push RECORD and go through all the numbers the band knows. That can be manicured and edited in various ways, or it can
be left raw. If you have a recording studio handy (this was all before computers) it would either be in the form of a portable cassette recording deck (Tascam, etc.) or an expensive mixer, reel to reel recorder, even a real studio. When video beta tapes became more popular it was common to record using the soundtrack of the video tape recorder to capture the sounds, and then transfer the sounds to cassettes for popular consumption.  Actually, I (still) prefer the (4 track) cassette deck method for ALL my recordings… not only does it retain the analog sound, but I can (then) produce mixdown tapes FROM it… a favorite trick (of mine) in the past has been to do a “spoken-word” set (2 of the tracks are vocals or spoken-word), melt it down to (either) digital or analog, then go BACK OVER the vocal tracks with instruments & send it off to another improvisor… to see what different interpretations come out of it (just) instrumentally… it’s often VERY different.  ALSO, then the “true master” is always analog, too.

In the old days (ten or twenty years ago, young reader) most record manufacturers did not take cassettes seriously, so if you were to buy a cassette version of a commercially recorded album from your favorite rock band, it would be on the worst possible tape, it would leave brown dust on your capstan (if you were to bother to look in there), I have always assumed that the record companies considered cassettes to be the worst possible
threat to their monopoly of musical formats. Back then it was only vinyl, cassettes and the 8-track.   & if you read up on it, there is a massive campaign (now) to “dishonor” the “CD-R” home recordist’s output, too… ANYthing to keep them OUT of the market… because they represent VARIABLES, something which does NOT go well with “standards”, “marketability” & “predictable consumers”.  Nothing new, here, though… the “big companies” have always tried (& many times are quite successful) to manipulate the consumer into listening to (only) what THEY produce… you remember “PAYOLA”, kiddies?  Look it up on yer’ favorite search engine…

There is a reason that the 8-track is so rare now, they were manufactured to standard lengths, so that when a specific album was put on a cartridge, it would be interrupted in four places as the cartridge would cycle through its playback-head positions. For example, the Doors albums would always have
songs chopped in odd places, you’d be grooving to “Riders in the Storm” and it would just stop abruptly for a moment, the player would click as the playback-head would shift, and then the music would abruptly continue. One may or may not even notice this, depending on what one was doing while listening. Typically these players would be in cars, and the true audio-phile sophisticate would have a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the home for personalizing audio entertainment. But vinyl was king. An artist was not legitimate unless they had products out on vinyl. Us old farts still have enormous collections of vinyl, but it is very difficult to find functioning turntables any more. So we can only sit around and look at the jackets, read
the liner notes and remember. I recommend sewing clear polyurethane into large pockets, hanging these pockets on the wall and displaying the LP cover art.   Hmmm… I’ve still got FOUR cartridges for my turntable (DENON), & though it occassionaly gathers some dust, I pull it out every once in a while to listen through an old album (though I HAVE pared the collection down from (about) 300 to 50 or so… just FAR too expensive to be moving around all over the world)!  The other thing to mention here (especially for those “young readers” Robin alluded to) is that you OUGHT to listen to some vinyl to see how CLEAR it comes across when running it (back) into a digital format… it’s just SWEET (unless your albums are scratched… the REAL drawback of vinyl).

At one time there was legislation to tax blank tape sales, it was observed that people would buy albums and want to make their own recordings, choosing favorite songs from the album and placing them on the cassettes according to their own whim. Now the new formats for recording music are changing so
rapidly there is no way for the record companies to lobby effectively for taxing formats that allow this kind of renegade treatment of the recording industries various products.    Don’t think for a MINUTE that they’re not (STILL) trying to control the formats, though… the next big wave is/will be in digital downloading… & the “privacy schemes” (some parts of which are good) for digital songs/pieces is where the big companies will assert themselves.  The GOOD thing about all this, though, is that there are so many folks out there (now) who are “digitally sophisticated” that the diversity of styles & musics has prevailed.  As I mentioned earlier – the real dilemma, in my opinion, is that the “consumer” will find it such a “maize” that they’ll get lazy & “fall back” on what is spoon fed them over Internet radio (& such tools) & the wheel will just “turn” again.  The BETTER scenario (in my mind) would be that EVERYONE will be playing/recording/digitizing their OWN music… NO ONE will be able to “own” it… can you imagine… a “digital campfire” session, in which everyone shares the .mp3’s they made last week?  TOM  SWIFT returns, yoh?



Till next time….


Rotcod Zzaj