Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 55

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Issue # 55 REVIEWS

NOTE:  This month, we include our first “Live Review”, based on a performance that featured Jack Wright, Bob Marsh, Jeffrey Morgan & Arrington Di Dionyso!

Charles Rice Goff III – FORAGED FOR, FOUND AND FORGED:  A glorious descent into the crawlspace “under the ether”!  CRG has provided (many of) us with sonic onslaughts to appendages aural for a whole collection of years now.  This outing features some amazing “cutups” based on loops of radio shows, jazz clips, “hound-dawgs from Hell”, with even a burp or 2 tossed in for good measure.  The listener must be dedicated to insanity, or will walk away with such a jaded sense of reality that they will put the “leathernecks” in their community to shame.  Track 6, “Dressing For Sex”, is my favorite cut on the album, for the haunting qualities as well as the title.  If you’ve never heard CRG III before, this is th’ one to start with.  VERY well recorded, some of the best work I’ve ever heard him do.  This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, especially for those who are on the verge of a visit to thee asylum.  Contact at “Turkey Makes Me Sleepy”, POB 146, Lawrence, KS 66044, on the site at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

mj – STATIC IN THE ATTIC:  What a nice walk down phunky lane… brings back mem’ries of my younger years, I’ll tell ya’!  “mj” describes it (in th’ liner notes) as “midwestern jazz/funk” – & I thought all there were was Baptists & corn farmers out there (just kidding, of course – I grew up at th’ edge of th’ midwest myself).  There are about 100 different styles represented here, all th’ way from Yo’hio players (‘member them?) to Larry Graham to (shades of) P-Funk… definitely some beautiful rhythm integration, & a real sense of what differentiates “movement” from th’ (dreaded, ’round here) smooth jazz!  I’m also reminded of some pieces from our West Coast friend (here in Olympia, if he’s still here), Remus Glaude.  Only criticism is that th’ liners/inserts didn’t (I didn’t feel) clearly reflect WHO was playing… I’m assuming this is totally solo work, but don’t know that for sure, because credits weren’t really clear to me.   Hear some nice bass lines in there & some grandmaster synth riffs.  Especially dug on th’ last track, “Search The Sequence”, prob’ly ‘coz of th’ horn/synth sections.  We’d love to hear mj’s next album, enough so that we can rate it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those listeners who wanna’ git on DOWN with it!  Contact via email to  or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Greg Grant – BISBE STREET:  Some really nice jazz on this CD in from Greg.  His alto work is nicely complimented by drums from Guido & double-bass (with wah-wah on some of the cuts) by James.  Styles range from “h-o-t” to “ballad” jazz, very effectively!  Strange journeys this gent has taken (from reading the bio/liners), all ’round the planet… born in NYC, now based in Montana!  All the songs on this album were composed in Barcelona, Spain… there is also some level of improvisation & a heavy dose of spirit that can only come from a player who has been around!  There is a heavy tone to most of the pieces, & a DEFINITE flavor of the Mediterranean zone (which kind of makes sense, when you stop & consider where the tunes originated).  My favorite cut (for upbeat) is “Mal Cositas”, the opening track!  Nice groove-based little thing that blends really well.  Greg’s sax has a deep “bite” that reaches out & “grabs” your ears, pulling you ever deeper in… a great little CD that gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz listeners who like to groove on life & the living thereof.  Contact at POB 191 Fortine, MT 59918, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Seattle Experimental Music Collective – SONICABAL 2:  Really solid representation of the Seattle experimental community on this intriguing CD!  Names we’ve heard – Christopher DeLaurenti, Dave Knott, The Bran Flakes, Intonarumori, Bakshish… & a few others as well.  We have read about “Mutant Data Orchestra” before, but this is the first time we’ve heard their “wall of noise”… very tastefully crafted, sounds sorta’ like th’ undercurrent of space dust ’round the Enterprise.  “Mabuse” has a very interesting cut (track 11, “Sphygmonanometer”) with an undercurrent percussive beat against sci-fi movie music backdrop.  Carl Juarez “Minimax Dub” is our favorite cut on the album, sort of a “cut-up” phunk-bass affair… be forewarned – this ain’t Motown!  If you are in to cutting edge sonics, you will NOT want to miss this one… far more than just “voice loop” stuff, these folks explore turf that few have trod.  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who have abandoned fear!  A genuine KEEPER!  Contact at The Sonicabal, POB 27401, Seattle, WA 98125-2401, or on their pages at or any of their members at   Rotcod Zzaj

Bonnie Kane/Ernesto Diaz-Infante – MYSTERIOUS PLANET:  & a (truly) mysterious excursion this is, volkz!  I’ve reviewed Ms. Kane & (my friend & playing partner, Ernesto) many times in these pages… Bonnie’s sax/flute work is no less challenging (than earlier efforts) on this CD, but true to form, Diaz-Infante is exploring some amazing vocal territories!  Th’ first cut (“Stillness Unwinding”) is slightly over 33 minutes of pure pandemonium, & my favorite on the album; starts in with some of those amazing noises, vox, sax & moves into the outer reaches very quickly.  There is also some GREAT drum-work by Andre Custodio on track 2!  If your listening habits don’t include adventure or unexpected bursts of sonic imagery (some of it on the verge of terrorism), you’d better leave this CD alone.  What the involved listener will very quickly discern, however, is that there are actually symphonic nuggets being mined for the mind to ponder (& treasure).  Any improvised music fan will concur – MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at Pax Recordings, POB 591138, San Francisco, CA 94159-1138, on the site at or through the promoter,   Rotcod Zzaj

Phinney/McGee – GNARL/KNOT:  Wonderfully clear re-issue of the two title tapes (originally recorded in February 1996).  Synth-galore, a fantastic odyssey into the minds of the creators.  You will feel like those astronauts in “2001 – A Space Odyssey” (except it’s 2002 now, right).  Machines, oxygen alarms, even an electronic door knocker or 3.  Over 73 minutes of straight-ahead synth-work…. Chris & Hal both played the ARP, Moog & Korg Poly 800… Chris also did a little guitar work here.   This is the kinda’ music you want when you’re needing to reflect a bit… best listened to with/on headphones, so you can absorb the total experience.  If you’re looking for hi-speed electro-loop stuff, you’ll go elsewhere, but anyone with a taste for some deep-space sonic wizardry with heavy depth will love this CD.   For those wanting to explore the depths of these ’90’s synthmasters, this is the perfect starting point… the album gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact at Harsh Reality Music, POB 38124-1667, or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

David Berriman – ANGEL’S PLAYGROUND:  All but three of the twelve tracks on this inspiring solo piano CD are originals, & that “recommends” the music in & of itself.  We reviewed a (newer) release by David in the last issue; I should have reviewed this one first.  The Yamaha grand carries overtones like ocean waves, VERY nicely recorded & beautifully expressive touch on all the tracks!  This is the kind of music you need when you want to relax & dream dreams (like the “Angels”, of course).  There is a truly full-bodied sound on this CD that I really enjoyed.  I’ve no doubt that if Mr. Berriman continues his campaign to promote his music, you’ll be hearing him soon on FM stations across the land.  Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for listeners who enjoy high energy creativity (even gotta’ “near boogie” in there on Track 3, “Early Bird Melody”).  Contact at 27605 Lyndon, Livonia, MI 48154, or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Joe McPhee/Mike Bisio/Joe Giardullo/Tani Tabbal – SHADOW & LIGHT:  Our friends at Drimala never cease in their effort to provide challenging music(s) for listeners who enjoy sonic challenge.  I can tell you, they have outdone themselves with this one.  Some of the most soulful, albeit sorta’ laid-back & melancholy improv I’ve ever heard.  It isn’t until you read the promo sheet/liners that you realize why… it was recorded (about 100 miles away from the disaster) on 9/11/01.  The session had been planned already & they thought about canceling after they heard the news of the terror; then decided that it was more appropriate to record anyway.  McPhee’s tenor/pocket trumpet, Bisio’s bass, Giardullo’s soprano, flute & shenai & Tabai’s drums/percussives join together in (what I would term) sheer (though gentle) POWer!  There are beautiful flights of fancy, as well as a segue to a beautifully bass-anchored “standard” section on my favorite track, #2, “Cries, Whispers & Cries”!  The title track is a close second.  If you listen to the music on this wonderful CD, you’ll agree with me… MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for lovers of insightful improvisation!  Contact at POB 69044, Hampton, VA 23669, via email to  or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj    

Joe Fleury – FILM FESTIVAL:  We reviewed a tape from Joe (way back) in issue # 34… spoken-word, drum-machine & synths woven around th’ words.  This CD is (somewhat) similar, but the digital format makes it much cleaner, TBS (to be sure).  The electronic aspects of his synth compositions lend an air of mysteriosity that I really like; lots of little intrigues buried down under th’ topography!  He’s got some genuinely phunk-ee beatz goin’ on, too – makes it much easier to groove along while you’re checkin’ out his words.  I particularly enjoyed “Crop Duster” (cut 3) for the down-under rhythms, & “Harry Hyde From Homicide” is another favorite (cut 7).   “Harry” certainly emulates the CD title, definitely some hard-edged cacophony goin’ on there… don’t do this at th’ height o’ yer’ reefer madness or you’ll end up az frazzled as thee dood in THAT movie!  VERY enjoyable, & gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who wanna’ lil’ “psych” in their “delic”!  Contact at Dailles 22, 1752 Villars Sur Glane, Switzerland, via e-mail, or check out his website at  Rotcod Zzaj

Roscoe Mitchell & Thomas Buckner – 8 O’CLOCK, TWO IMPROVISATIONS:  For any/all into vocal antics in improvisations – GET THIS NOW!  Very, VERY interesting juxtapositions of bells, reeds, flutes and percussion (Roscoe) with strange voice twists/turns (Thomas).  It isn’t a “straight” spoken-word kind of thing, with “poetry” being read; more like a vocal improvisation, with the vox as the featured instrument.  This sort of duo only works when the players are very familiar with each other (experience tells us that, too)… Mitchell/Buckner have been experimenting for (over) 20 years now, & that’s evident as you listen – they know right where they’re going all the way through.  Some listeners will have a difficult time with this, so unless your ears are inclined to be brave… well, you get the idea.  We found it to be stronger in the quieter moments… enough so that it gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us.  Be forewarned – this isn’t for the timid!  Contact at 109 W. 27th St., Seventh floor, New York, NY 10001, via email to or on their site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Peter Jacquemyn/Jeffrey Morgan/Mark Sanders – SIGN OF THE RAVEN:  Whenever Jeffrey comes back to Olympia, I get the opportunity to hear something fresh, something “new”, if you will!  Readers who have been with us for a while will know that we have reviewed his various musical efforts for many years now… one of the key points I’ve emphasized through those years is that Morgan grows!  This particular trio is a wonderful vehicle for him… Peter’s contrabass lends an orchestral foundation for Jeffrey to paint against with his alto sax work, & Mark’s drums & percussives provide counterpoints that are challenging for both listeners & players.  There are only 3 tracks this time around, prob’ly because it was from a live performance (at “the Loft”, in Cologne Germany).  There is (always) a cosmic element to Morgan’s playing, & that comes through most clearly on the opener, “Mojo Colorado”; as you might expect for a piece that’s slightly more than 37 minutes long, there is a build to the frenzy that ensues, but you will enjoy the ride.  My favorite cut is track 2, “Floating Bridges”… only a bit over 6 minutes long, but EXTREMELY high energy, with a rhythmic base that’s very attractive in the weave of the three instruments… I especially liked the contrabass on this one.  Anyone who claims to like improvised music will concur with my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Jeffrey has grown (at least) a couple of inches in his artistic achievement since the last one we reviewed… he’ll be higher than th’ beanstalk ‘fore too long.  GET this one!  A sample of cut 3, Oblique Moons, can be heard by clicking on the title.  Contact at or on thru the site, at    Rotcod Zzaj

Six Drumsets – SIMMER:  Listeners who can’t get enuff of th’ rhythm-stuff won’t want to miss this wonderful percussion CD!  As the name implies, an even half-dozen players explore their collective vision of the rhythms of life from cultures around the world.  The playing is flawless, & the cooperative spirit is clear… no one tries to take over… an amazing feat for that many drummers in one room, methinks.  The players (Steve Wilkes, Johan Svenson, Johnny Rabb, Jon Hazilla, Takeshi Ichikawa & Marko Djordjevic) seem to be holding a conversation together, particularly on my favorite trak, “Sacred Smoke”, # 2.  Pop-rockers & other 3-minute attention spans prob’ly will find this difficult to sit through, but we enjoyed it thoroughly (with th’ headphones on… you catch a lot more of the nuances that way)!   I also found myself tappin’ along quite energetically to “Six Hop”… th’ name should tell you, & you can even supply yer’ own lyrics!  We realize that this kind of music isn’t for all listeners – but we rate it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for ears that want some new sonic sod to dig in!  Contact thru their site, at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Carol Genetti with Magali Babin, John Berndt, John Dierker, Paul Hoskins, Jerry Lim, Catherine Pancake, Julie Pomerleau, Jon Rose, Jason Willett & Jack Wright – THE SHATTERING:  Recorded at the HIGH ZERO festival in Baltimore (2000), this album will indeed shatter any preconceived notions the listener may have about what music should be!  Genetti digs down deep into her psyche & pulls up voices from (both) dreams & nightmares… sometimes gently, but more often disturbing visions.  If you love improvised cacophony, you won’t want to miss this… but if you approach music “expecting” something (particularly in the vocal realm) to be a certain way… forget it!  Carol works VERY well this way, totally aware of all the nuances of the various instruments around her, never forcing her vox… her voice becomes another instrument in the foray, with total effect.  The cuts that worked best (for me) were those featuring strings… track 3, “Severe Destructive Vibrations”, was a favorite.  What is most striking through the whole album, though, is the sense of intricacy… I’d recommend listening to one or two pieces at a sitting – then take a short break & come back for 2 more (with headphones, of course).  You must be a fan of new discoveries, but if you are, you’ll understand when I declare this MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Contact at 2732 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21218, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj 

Redeye – BLOODSHOT:  Some of th’ oddest hip-hop I’ve heard in a while… I mean, backbeats & dissin’  against samples from th’ “Eagles”?  Mebbe’ got somethin’ to do with th’ fact that Ian Macleod (th’ prime rapper here) was born in th’ great Northwest (Eugene, to be exact)…. some of those shrooms left lil’ shoots growin’ in hiz brain cells when he moved to Austin, Texas?  Don’t know, coz’ they got some hellacious cactii down Tex-azz way, too, eh?  Despite th’ “X” language ratings, Redeye has a unique sound, though… I especially dug on cut 2, “Deeper”… nice backing vox, penetrating riff runnin’ down (where else?)… DEEP!  I liked th’ bass under hard-rawk on “Hit The Gas”, too.  Almost hear a lil’ Barry (White, that is) on “Sound Abyss”, yah?  These guys got a “different” sound, for sure.  I kinda’ LIKE it; I mean, I wouldn’t play it for my 86-year-old mom, but… ya’ know!  Give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, which is primarily based on the fact that they have some sense for th’ music, not just th’ hippin’ or th’ hoppin’.  Make some o’ you homies happy, verzure!  Contact Ian Mcleod at 3204 Santa Monica Drive, Austin, TX 78741 or via email to   Producer Nic Climer can be contacted at 10609 Barnhill Dr., Austin, Tx 78758 or via email to   Their official site is at   Tell ’em Zzaj sent ya’! Rotcod Zzaj

Mental Anguish – MESHWERK:  Chris been mixin’ it up again (that’s Chris Phinney, of Harsh Reality Records).  This is unlike any experimental or “out” music you’ve heard before.  Fresh-cut, albeit deeply rooted… in th’ rawk-in tradz’ we’ve come to expect from HR!  I especially liked track 2, for th’ percussives as well as th’ strange sounds!  Strong dance-like rhythm-trax that will (at least) have ya’ wigglin’ somethin’!  Definitely some psychedelics woven in there, prob’ly Chris got some kind o’ sonic subliminals there, too… take over th’ world & all that, yer’ know?  Ambient lead-in on track 10 will throw ya’ off… after the first (eight?) bars, starts kickin’ yer’ TAILZ’!  If you’re thirsting for some straight-ahead jazz improv, you’ll move along to another stall… if you want some great beats with strange twists & turns behind th’ rhythms (something we’ve sorta’ come to expect from Mr. Phinney), you’ll agree with me… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact via Chris’s site, at  or reach him via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Bert Wilson – INTERDIMENSIONAL INTERFACE:  Anyone who has had the good fortune to meet/hear Bert Wilson knows how convincing & inspiring his reed-playing can be (Alto & Tenor on this outing)!  On this amazing CD he is joined by our long-time friend Jeffrey Morgan (Alto/Tenor/Piano) & Bert’s companion Nancy Curtis (Soprano/Alto).  What is most impressive about Bert’s playing is how “solid” it feels… many players who blow this far “out” have no concept of how to get the tones & keep them as anything more than “scratch/whistle/pop”.  Morgan’s keyboards on track 1, “Deric Olphy Meets Art Tantrum” (you figger it out) range across the universe & back again, VERY strong playing.  The attraction (for this listener, anyway) in this kind of music is the depth of communication(s) that are expressed; almost like listening to a heartfelt conversation between the players – that is especially true on cuts like # 4, “It’s Only The Music Inside Your Head”… the talents of all 3 players (all on reeds this time) are featured, digging (as the album title hints at) in to sonic dimensions that have been inside you (or passed along to you) for (prob’ly) millions of years.  Only listeners who want that kind  of sonic improvised adventure will agree with my statement that this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; those chained in this dimension by the kultural mish-mosh that’s been fed to them on radio/TV will go elsewhere.  Intense, yet displays the kind of calm that can only come from knowing which sphere has the next note.  GREAT music!  Contact at or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Reed Dickinson – PLAYING GAMES WITH THE SUN:  An even dozen tunes on this CD.  Definitely retro Pop/rock, with 21st century shadings.  Reed plays keyboards, but his primary role is vocals.  His lyrics tell stories that will touch each & every listener… in one way or another.  The songs are well crafted & rendered with heartfelt emotion.  Our readers who are dedicated to “out” in their listening won’t find this attractive, but those who enjoy all musical styles will find this a very pleasant listen.  Reed described it as “closer to albums of the 1960’s”, & I’d say that’s a pretty apt description… shades of “Mammas & Pappas”, even.  What saves it from being “bubblegum” is Dickinson’s clear commitment to using words & music to sway the listener!  I enjoyed the experience & give it a RECOMMENDED… it will be interesting to hear what his next CD sounds like.  Contact at Flying Kite Records, 644 Middle St., Weymouth, MA 02189-1130, on the site at or via email to    Rotcod Zzaj

Juliana – WOMAN WISDOM:  This is our first listen to new age songstress Juliana… what a beautiful way to start a Sunday!  Part of the attraction may be that she’s working with Llewellyn, an artist we have reviewed many times.  Very orchestral backing he provides, in the realms of the angels… the lady’s vocals soar to heights (far) above the clouds on a sunny blue-sky day.  If you are a freestyle freek with no patience for the quieter side of aural presentation, you won’t like this.  OTOH, if you can appreciate music that reaches out & soothes your spirit with a touch of gentle, you will love the simplicity of the structures… focus is (rightfully so) placed on the vocals.  I enjoyed it sufficiently to give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… dedicated fans of New Age music will credit it much more highly, I’m sure.  GREAT music!   Contact through Musik International, 154 Betasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 or on the site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Sunset Room – ALMOST AN ANGEL:  Heavy hittin’ jazz & R&B in a decidedly “down-tempo” (read, BLUESY & rawkin’) fashion on this fine lil’ CD in from Tim Rumbaugh (who plays bass & does programming).  The core group adds James Flores on drums & keyboards, with some throaty (& spirited) vocals by Catie Moore… they are supplemented by Marty Beal, Abhi & Pete Lugo on guitar, Rob Covacevich on sax & John Harrington on trumpet.  Imagine yer’self in a dark-roomed bar after 1:00am, smokin’ up a storm after a couple too many JD’s (or too many spoons o’ ‘dat “brown sugar”)… you’ll get th’ mood (right away).  You can’t call it “jazz” – tho’ it has elements… you can’t call it blues – tho’ it’s definitely down/dir-tee… you can’t call it rock – even tho’ it has that certain PUNCH.  So what DO ya’ call it?  “Sunset Room” rawkin’/blooz/jazz, methinks.  Group has a definite style of it’s own, & high energy playing to boot!  If yer’ earz are attracted to “accessible – with a twist”… you’ll dig this.  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Makes great “road music”!  Contact at PMB #244, 401 W. Imperial Hwy, #H, Brea, CA 92821-4841, on their site at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Kitty Brazelton – CHAMBER MUSIC FOR THE INNER EAR:  We first reviewed Kitty’s musical wizardry way back in issue # 39… this CD is no less “out”, but not nearly as rawkin’!  Do NOT let that stop you from ordering the album, tho’… if you get excited by compositions that twist, turn & drive your mind to new awareness (i.e., new & fresh), you’ll HAVE to get this one.  She shows her vocal talents for us (again) on track 5 (“R”), which is my favorite cut… not only because of her vocals, but because of the compositional intricacies throughout the piece.  There is a decidedly “orchestral” feel to the music on this album, & (some) fans of improvised musics may have to give it 2 or 3 listens before the enchantment sets in… but it’s a FANTASTIC musical experience!  Definitely a KEEPER!  We give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  GREAT music, GREAT spirit!  Contact at 73 Spring Street, Suite 505, New York, NY 10012-5802, or at the site at  (once there, do a search for “brazelton” to find the album).   Rotcod Zzaj

Jack Wright/Bhob Rainey/Fred Lonberg-holm/Bob Marsh – DOUBLE DOUBLE:  There are some reviewers who have been sorta’ “slamming” Jack’s music, writing it off as “too intense”, “unlistenable” & that sort of thing.  TOTALLY unacceptable, in this reviewer’s mind!  The 6 tracks on this recording are culled from performances in NYC, Baltimore & the Music Of Contemporary Art in D.C.  Absolutely intricate, the kind of music that must be absorbed, not played as background!  Those who have been with us for lo these many years now will know what I’m talking about… improvisations with teeth, tasty morsels in every single second!  The cellos interact most playfully with the reeds, painting sonic scenarios that help the listener reach back into mem’ries that come from the earliest campfires!  One thing that is quite notable is the “calmness” inspired by these pieces… don’t get me wrong, there are still incendiary moments, but the compz aren’t nearly as explosive as some albums/tapes Jack has put out in the last 10 years.  All in all a great improvisatory listen that merits a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all who dig explorations in music.  Contact at 5505 Valmont Ave., # 188, Boulder, CO, 80301, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj  (Just so you know, Jack is distributing this grand CD through the Zzaj Productions catalog, too… go HERE to buy it with your credit card!)

ORFN – PARSEC FOR YOUR THOUGHTS:  VisionEar (our pal Jim Konen) has been at it again in his studio.  Trumping up new tunes & new visions to bring out th’ primal in you!  Truly experimental sounds, he is exploring as he goes, mining the caverns of his brains for sounds you haven’t heard before (& maybe HE hasn’t heard before, either).  Much less focus on his guitar mastery, with more on orchestral “edge” tones & mixtures.  Anything Jim does will have high energy rhythms (whether undercurrent or at the forefront), & he certainly fills the bill on that… but the percussives are more sparse this time around, they blend much better & slither in, around & through pieces that are much like paintings.  The keyword for this outing is subtle, methinks… you’ll want to listen with the headphones on to catch every little nuance!  Lots of energy & musical fun!  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us… if you haven’t listened to VisionEar before, this would be a GREAT place to start!   Contact Jim via email to, or on his website at    Rotcod Zzaj

Eckhart Tolle – WHISPERS OF NOW:  This amazing CD contains a sort of “record” of the enlightenment of Mr. Tolle, “whispered” against the music (provided by Brian Scott Bennett, Lee Sklar and Carl Verheyen) by Brittney Browne.  Bennett’s music is somewhat subdued, but still very high energy.  Just put yourself back in your early ’70’s frame of mind… actually, don’t “put” yourself in any frame – for if you heed Eckhart’s advisement, you’ll learn to live ONLY for the NOW!  This should be listened to with th’ headphones on… you must pay close attention to the words & let yourself be “taken over” by th’ musicweave.  Free improv-ers won’t find this a big treat, but those who enjoy the healing power of music combined with spirit-raising words will agree with me – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Do NOT file this under “new age” – it has more power than that!  Contact via the site at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Bret Hart/Ernesto Diaz-Infante – SOME PIG:  You just CAN’T “keep th’ good guys down”.  As (many of) you know, these gentz’ are some hardcore improvisors… willing to step up to any musical challenge.  They call this outing “Folk music, requiring focus”.  Hart’s guitars on this outing (all multitracked, first-pass, improvisation) are really reminiscent of his earliest works (way back in thee ’80’s).  Diaz-Infante continues his explorations of various vocal adventure techniques, all to great effect!  There is some wonderful synth/rhythm work on here, too (not sure from th’ liners exactly who was doing that).  The title track is the most interesting, methinks, with various & sundry mood shifts and “out” non-patterned improvisations.  You have never heard “folk music” like this – but you SHOULD… &, of course, you CAN… just ORDER this magnificently strange CD from (either of) the artists… or   It gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!   Rotcod Zzaj

Steve Beresford/Pat Thomas/Veryan Weston – 3 PIANOS:  This CD, in from EMANEM label, is just amazing!  Being a keyboard player myself, & frequently in improvisation mode, I know that it is rare to get 3 players of any instruments together who don’t have some level of competition… but, 3 piano players?  Just too easy for ego to get in the way.  NOT on this beauty; it’s like all three musicians are on exactly the same wavelength!  This should be must listening for every piano student in the world!  Recorded in 2001 (July) in London, the music is an excellent example of just how well improvised music can be.  There is a boundless energy throughout, even in the quieter sections.  Don’t try & listen to this in the car, or as background for your next Bar Mitzvah, tho’… arrange it so there is nothing (else) to distract… preferably with headphones – then sit back & get ready to experience a whole range of rhythmic & tonal shifts that you’ve never heard the likes of before.  This is, without qualification, the best piano set I’ve ever heard – & I’ve heard a lot of them!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the “PICK” of the year for “best trio/duo piano”.  Contact through Martin Davidson, 3 Bittacy Rise, London NW7 2HH England, on the site at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Frode Gjerstad/John Stevens/Derek Bailey – HELLO GOODBYE:  Another wonderful set of improvisations from our friend Martin Davidson (EMANEM label).  Any improv fan worth their salt will recognize Derek’s name right away (guitar), but this was our first listen to Gjerstad (alto sax) & Stevens (percussion/mini-trumpet).  Recorded in 1992, 2 years before his untimely death, it proves that music(s) of all sorts can be in the timeless realm.  In fact, I think (for improvisors, anyway), it important to listen to older recordings… it’s often easy to feel like the free music we’ve been playing has never been done before.  FER-GET it!  Music like this can’t be played effectively unless the players are totally in tune with the freedom!  Frode’s reeds, Bailey’s amplified guitar & John’s crisp percussives mesh together flawlessly, in a dance of free fantasy that will open the listener’s mind up to possibilities never before imagined.  Obviously, this is totally unfettered music, which will make some listeners squirm a bit… but if you’ve even a cell or two of adventure in your earlobes… you’ll hear why we declare it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  GREAT improv!  Contact through Martin Davidson, 3 Bittacy Rise, London NW7 2HH England, on the site at  or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Halley Trio – OBJECTS:  Well, nobody here objects… to hearing this gutsy sax-led trio of reeds (Halley), strings (Clyde Reed) & percussives (Dave Storrs) from down Oregon way!  I rather imagine they had lil’ things in mind when they came up with this title, tho’, eh?  We reviewed Rich’s “Coyotes In The City” CD last year (MOST favorably, I might add)… this one (from an energy standpoint) is even BETTER!  The other thing that’s very striking about “Objects” is the full body of sound that’s achieved on th’ recording.  Halley’s tenor/soprano playing leaves nothing to be desired… it reaches right down inside yer’ insides & tears th’ ROOF orf!  The trio shares the limelight with no competition, just healthy energy for the playing… & their integration is seamless!  If your thang is (th’ dreaded) smooth jazz, you’ll have to flip th’ switch to off on this CD… but if you want beautifully expressive jazz that explores the full range of emotions in a fashion that is both out & in at the same time – THIS IS IT!  One of the best albums yet to come out of Storrs’ “Louie Records”.  Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  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

Keven Brennan – KEVEN BRENNAN’S REVIVAL TENT:  This is one phunkin’, jumpin’ revival tent!  Strange resemblance (in some strange way) to th’ ol’ FunkaDelics stuff.  Actually, tho’, it’s more based on th’ title… Christian music that moves ya’!  There are definitely some strains (way down under) of thee most wholly & revered Unca’ Frank (Zappa), with a dash o’ Thomas Dolby fer’ good measure.  Brennan’s sax work provides th’ thrust for th’ phunky pieces… but he’s got a mighty twisted sense of how to “re-invent” th’ genre(s) he plays in.  All th’ way from those gospel roots to a poetry piece that sounds (quite a lot) like Cp’n Beefheart’s weirdest poetry (track 8, “Eden”, which I really dug on  “by her bed/she kept the x-rays of her head”), he invents new nuances for th’ listener to groove upon.  “Funky Little Spaceship” is a favorite of mine, too.  Only crit I had was that I couldn’t find th’ credits, but that may be ‘coz th’ insert/lyric sheet is in very small print.  All in all, though, this is an adventure you’ll HAVE to buy if you wanna’ be “hip”!  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact at 859 N. Hollywood Way, #386, Burbank, CA 91505, via email to or on the pages at   Rotcod Zzaj



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Read a full-blown NOVELLA from our friend Jeffrey Morgan!  Highly entertaining reading!!!!!



Clouds Intentional Leaning


Trace outlined phantom,
Floating past mindless lunchers,
Scaled to fit in pocket yet,
wet with intuition, dripping
down like snow covered gel.

Institutional confinement
instigating true colors and
shortness of breath. All the
pretty demons lurch forward
trying to reach you under the veil.

I was told by the all seeing
that love unfurls like wind.
I thought and still wonder
do you remember the rain running
down your back or our toes tangled
in the grass?

Robe slipping to show off lovely
lines and creases that were invisible
yesterday. Invoking fears and anxiety
in me that I thought I let go
with puberty. What a shame it is
when your mind lets go and doesn’t
take you with it. What a shame.

[ s t a n d i n g o n t v ]

copyright, 2002


“Ebb and Flow”


Katy Bertrand

I am like the moon
Governed by the tides
Revealing myself in cycles
Drawing out
of an off-white
cratered sphere
by little
from beneath the surface of blue.




Katy Bertrand

As I lie beneath
man-made nature,
I attempt to explain
the inexplicable.

I desire
the undesirable.

Fill the day
with longing for night.

I have conflicts in my head
over where I stand
on war and peace.




Katy Bertrand

I am ocean
Sometimes brilliantly bright blue
Sometimes dingy, dirty, gray
Most often a murky green
swirled with foamy white.
I am.
Or am I merely reflecting
the color of the sky.


  by luke buckham

black eyes                                              feathers


outhouse window looks out                      on discarded christmas tree

angry snowflakes cover our                      sidewalk back-pocket knives

strangers visit the bathroom                      watching mice crumble away

100-proof punch washes dust from all      punchbowls tickling the ceilings with fumes

we dance like crows across roads            knowing the gels of our spines

who loves who loves the way i dance,      the back of my head that i don’t see?

bad rapper’s gang-rape my girl’s ears       tides of spermicide dull the drums

a whole choir sits in each piano key          icelandic crucifiction statues milk my eyes

distended udders drip yellow milk            from murky chandeliers above android wedding

my carkeys utter prophecies in my           pockets filled with yesterday’s newspapers

somebody loved somebody                     without a bed or a brain wave.   



the hesitant flowers,       by luke buckham


like slow mice under a slow cat’s teeth


love is slower than death

when you feel the bubbles of the tide

under the sun over your back

your spine turning to gold

her smile a fragile representation of emotion sprinkled with sand

looks as facile as seaweed

but seaweed is real

swiss cheese sun reflecting off jellyfish

hesitant flowers grow through frightened hands

as marching bands clad in silver

march over the hundred tides


exploding in a mercury swarm


surfacing to a false smile framed by lucid sky

the fish in the nets have never pleaded for another chance

and have never died.



liquor store self-assertion blues             by luke buckham


long thin bottles of hard alcohol fall

through puddles of soft pink light

never shattering

the market is drowned in the tinny sound

of fingernails falling to the floor

a perfectly circular hole opens in a drunk’s cheek

exposing rotting molars and a golden tarnished key

clenched between the black teeth away from doors


i run to the bathroom

strip naked and stand in a trashcan

stare into the mirror to quench my own thirst

to know who i am stalled inside

all these rippling hours that i have lost.





INTERVIEW with Dave Fuglewicz!

Zzaj:  Tell us, how do ya’ “do thee improv” down there in Georgia?  Folks’ve been SHOT for less’n that down there, haven’t they?

Dave: Usually with one eye looking over my shoulder, well no not really.  Atlanta has it’s own share of freakiness, dating “way” back to the distant past of the 60’s. I’m really not up on what’s going on, I don’t go out much. Between work, family, music and
other interests I just don’t have the time. As to how I do it, well, I’ve tried different ideas to stimulate my creativity. But now I mostly play around until something inspires me.

Zzaj:  What are your key instruments?

Dave: My KEY instrument would have to be my trusty ol’ Arp 2600. I’ve had it for about twenty years now and still love playing it and playing with it. I’d roughly estimate that about three quarters of all the tracks I’ve laid down utilize it.  I also own a Arp Odyssey, an ARP Sequencer, a cheap Casio that I heavily
modified so it could be triggered by the sequencer, a Roland TR-707 rhythm machine, some effects like echo, a hand full of home built analog synth modules and my computer. I still mostly use a old Vesta Fire 4 Track cassette deck for recording but
will be moving to recording on my computer. I upgraded it this past winter and it has the power to do that now.

Zzaj:  Give us a few words (or a few thousand, if you’d like) on your projects over the last 15 years… who have you collaborated with, what’s your website, etc?

Dave:   Well, let me see if I can push the fog away and step in to the Way Back Machine. I released my first tapes around 1990, though I’d been recording for about six years before that. There was a lot of experimentation in those days and my sound
was a lot rougher and primitive. However, as in a lot of things, the energy of that period was unique and I think compensated for my lack of ability. I believe many of my compositions have stood the test of time and still sound good to me.  A good example would be Now One I Stand Electric or The Rosewith Inn from
Industrial Strength #2 (1990), but some don’t sound all that good now, interesting, but not good enough for release. Around 1995 and 1996 I reached a new level in my abilities to convey what’s in my head and the albums A Gentle Sounding Of Chaotic Extensions and Orange Mist Sunrise/Sunset. The Orange Mist set in particular I still consider the best overall album I’ve done, everything clicked on it. It was a hell of a lot of fun to do.  I’m still “extending” the creative level that started about then. There’s really not a lot to talk about with regards to my solo work over the years, just me sitting down and working the keyboards or whatever and the tape deck.

The bulk of my work has been solo, however, I have had the pleasure of working with a handful of artists in a “by mail” collaboration.  In no particular order here they are:

Of course, there was  “Journey To Reality”, which I did with you. I had a lot of fun laying the basic tracks down for that. What really got me excited was what you did with those basic tracks, turned them into gold you did!

There was a nice tape I did with Vraxoin called “Collaboration”, it’s an excellent blend of Vraxoin’s digital synths and my analog synths, I really liked the way it turned out.

I’ve also done a couple of tracks with K.D. Schmitz for his release “The Purple Dot Experience” and his daughter Kayla’s “Half A Quarter To Dark”. I’ve contributed “source” material for several of his tapes. I love working with K.D., the guy is
just so intelligent and versatile and am very excited when I receive an invitation from him to do something.

There was also a track I did for Chris Phinney “Mile After Mile” release, which was a computer remix of some of his samples, that was a lot of fun.

The most involved projects have to be the ones I’ve done with Pete Painful (a.k.a Pete Comley), “The Sentient Insect Variations” and “Lost City Music Volume 1”. We’d
work for years on each tape and I think that they show it, they’re beautiful. Hopefully, “Lost City Music Volume Two” will be completed this year, but I’m not sure. Pete is moving in a different musical direction these days, focusing more on live performances and may not have the time to finish Volume Two.
I hope he does, but am happy that he’s having lots of fun doing what he’s doing now.

Then there was my work with my local friends Marty Ashmore, Chuck Dimling and Eugene McBrayer, otherwise known as Ambient Meat. The first release was “Sonic Debris” and the second being “Disturbation”.  I was the recording engineer while they jammed and then added my own humble synth work.

My web page is though it will probably change some time this year, I want to get a DSL
connection and Earthlink (Mindspring) doesn’t offer it in my area.  The web site is for my “label” “Unnatural Reality Audio” which I started late last year. I came up with U.R.A. as kind of a private joke regarding someone’s comments about my interests being “Unnatural”.  I’m not sure if it’s standing the “test o’ time” and may trash that concept and rewrite it. I stay away from the bells and whistles of “Flash”, etc. sticking to basic HTML. I’ve optimized it for fast loading time  While still being graphically pleasing since well over half of the U.S. internet users still use a dial up connection.

Zzaj:  Who are you most influenced by, musically?

Dave: My biggest direct influences would have to be Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze’s work of the 70’s and early 80’s. Jimi Hendrix is another huge direct influence but more in attitude than in musical composition.   Yes, those guys made a very big
impression on me!

Zzaj:  Like most of us, I ‘magine you have a “day job”… does it get in the way of your music?

Dave: Yeah I do computer desktop support for a electronics manufacturing company. Besides the obvious of taking  up time that could be spent on music, it’s the mental energy that it uses, sometimes I just get home from the job and want to veg out with the tube or a computer game, but we got to eat until that big recording contract comes along (grins).

Zzaj:  If you had the chance, who would you most like to play with live?

Dave: Mostly all my independent music contacts: you, Hal McGee, Brian Noring, K.D. Schmitz, Ken Miller, John Sosnowski (where are you?), Keith Nicolay, Chris Phinney, Zan Hoffman, Pete Painful, Crystal Awareness and Little Fyodor.

Zzaj:  Did you take formal training in music?

Dave: None what so ever. I started off with absolutely no talent, just a desire inside to be creative with sounds. I think I’ve improved and that makes me happy and keeps me going.

Zzaj:  Has airplay been an important part of your D.I.Y. work(s) thus far? If so, tell us why… if NOT, tell us why.

Dave: Not really, when I first started out I really researched independent and college radio stations and sent out hundreds of tapes with all most no response. For example, Don Campau always plays my releases and I have yet to hear from somebody that said they heard my work on the radio and want to hear more. So I kind of gave up on that route. I like to mention that I’ve got far more response from ‘zine review, especially yours, thanks for doing that Zzaj and all you other ‘zine publishers! However, I don’t want to sound like I’m bitching about it. I was sending tapes when people wanted CD’s. Also, I really have
been very, very lax about promoting my work, so it’s my own fault.   However, that initial burst of sending out tapes did put me in contact with Pete Comley (Pete Painful) so it was worth it.

Zzaj:  Your “words of wisdom” for “aspiring musicians”?

Dave: You got to believe in yourself and your vision. Especially, if
you’re taking a musical direction that is “experimental”. Put your heart into it and that’s where you’ll get your satisfaction. Keep on persevering through the “dry” spells if you have them (like I do) music’s a life time journey.

Zzaj:  What other areas of the arts do you delve in to?

Dave: Well, I mess around with a few things, but I see them as
more on a craft level than art. I like to mess around with computer graphics or build an occasional “model” out of electronic scrap parts. On the technical side I mess around with old computers, computer operating systems and pick up a soldering iron and build some electronic gizmo.

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SO – here we are again… it’s been an exciting month in Olympia!  Being out of work (as I alluded to in the last issue’s rant) does have some “advantages”.  

     On the 15th of May, we were pleased to see Jack Wright, Bob Marsh & Jeffrey Morgan visit our lil’ corner of the Sound; & the details of that sonic adventure are posted as a “Live Review” in this issue, along with a few pictures of the artists involved.  We also had the good fortune to meet one of the world’s BEST reed players, Bert Wilson (mainly because he’s been hosting Jeffrey during his stay in Oly).   Bert & I had occasion to talk (on more than one occasion) about how many great artists there are right here in our fair city!  What all this is leading up to (as you’ve probably guessed already) is some (much needed) revitalization, almost rebirth, of the energies needed to spark the FIRES!  No plans that are totally clear at this point, but look for much more news of artistry in this area in the issues to come over the next few months!

     June promises to be an even higher energy month for improv & jazz in our area… many artists are visiting us… groups from San Francisco, NYC, BC & who knows where all else will be here to entertain us & show off their creative genius during this years’ Olympia Experimental Music Festival (the EIGHTH year)!  Arrington Di Dionyso is putting this all together, pretty much on his own.  Multiple venues, great groups & high audience support are anticipated.  We hope you’ll come from the far corners of the earth to join us!

     It looks like I am returning to work soon… some training during the remainder of May, then full bore in June.  So, for all who have sent words of sympathy & encouragement – thanks!  It looks like I’ll (possibly, it’s a “temp to perm” thing) be back in th’ saddle soon.

     Where is th’ RANT, you ask?  Yah, I guess this does seem to be turning into some kind of “newsletter” about my work situation (& how the lack of work gives one an opportunity to be more involved in the things that really matter – like improvised music)… for that I apologize… but I do think it’s important to point out that during this entire time frame, I have (for all intent & purpose) turned the NEWS orf!  Th’ few news bytes I have seen (on TV, or on my AT&T home page) make the intent of the politicos become evermore clear… if they had their way, the general populace would be WIRED into the propaganda machine!  They WANT you to stay “fired up” about their war games/tests – well, don’t GIVE ’em what they want!  Turn that damn TV (or newsradio) station OFF for a change… only listen to it as though it were an improvisation… it will enlighten you very quickly to what their motives really are!  They WANT you/us all to become so focused on how right their immoral bombing is that you’ll forget the pain and suffering it causes!  The only way for that to happen is if your mind is glued to the newsreels.  

     Obviously, I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore what they’re doing in D.C., either… but approach it with the idea that you are inspecting what they do with your $.  When you see things in a different light because you’ve pulled back away from it a bit – WRITE THEM!  Or, compose a song about it… or a poem… or, if you’re a really good writer, send a letter to them & tell them that they will NOT succeed in the campaign to make this 9/11 situation become a march toward (eventual) Armegeddon. 

     The other thing that is terribly important (to me, anyway) is to GET OUT & SUPPORT artists all over the world!  Go see a show… buy a CD, drop a note… be involved in the artistic happenings, & you will (like light speed) see that there ARE other things in life than dirty wars & political whores!  & in the next month or two – Olympia is a GREAT place to do just that!  C’mon UP here & check out the 8th Olympia Experimental Music Festival… tentatively slated for June 28, 29 & 30th.  I will be playing with folks from San Francisco (THE ABSTRACTIONS) & 99 Hooker (from NYC).  We look forward to seeing you (& watching/helping  you “brake away” from the MO-chine)!!!!


Till next time….


Rotcod Zzaj