Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 61


Issue # 61 REVIEWS

Jeff Song & Lowbrow – DIASPORAMA:    Many, many moons have passed since we’ve heard/reviewed this group… last time ’round was in issue # 27.  “Lowbrow” features the playing of Jeff Song & Matt Turner on cello (they were also featured in some of our earliest issues, # 13 & 14, for example).  The current CD holds clearly to their (guided) improvisational roots, but uses Michael Gentile’s flute & percussives by John Mettam to mix flavors of (most) accessible jazz into their mix.   Song/Turner are masters at making the cellos cry/fly/sigh, & magically turning their sounds into memories of your past(s) & future(s).  The vocal on track 5, “Monday School”, is a most pleasant surprise, & will stretch your definitions of the traditional lullabye.  The high point of the CD, however, is the intricate way that brass reed, percussives & strings frolic together… a clear sense of joy is communicated to the listener in a balanced way.  Calm exuberance?   A most highly likeable album that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for jazz/improv fans the world over.  For more information, contact Jeff at       Rotcod Zzaj

Cesium:137 – REGRETS:    We have reviewed this beat-driven band before (issue # 50 & 53), & many listeners have dug their sounds…. they have gotten progressively better since we first heard them, & this go-round moves on forward, as well.  I still believe that they need to hook up with my friend Jim Konen, ‘coz there would be some rawk-in goin’ on!  This album has the best mixes we’ve heard them do…. great vocals float in/out/around/through th’ beats, & th’ bass is able to pop (without poppin’ so hard that it fuzzes out th’ rest of th’ instruments).  There’s some really nice synthesizer floatin’ on track 4, “Haujobb – The 1k mix”, that will make ya'”get on up & dance”.  This is our first dance/mix-oriented album for 2003… it gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who needs to get their blood pumpin’!  Contact at Tonedeaf Records, POB 1736, Philadelphia, PA 19105-1736, or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

Slow Children – RESTING ON OUR LAURELS:    If you’ve never heard “indie crack rock” before, & you like yer’ music to actually have some music in it, you’ll have to check out Sysop & MC Muffin’s latest efforts.  Percussives woven right nicely into some well-crafted synthplay (with some neat phaser sounds) will make you wonder how they got this all down…. they’re sorta’ th’ next-gen of DJ’s, prob’ly doin’ most manips on th’ ‘chine, then mixing together the results.  We hear so many efforts along these lines that th’ rare occasion when it’s a plausible musical experience makes th’ day for our upper appendages.  Some nice phunkin’ goin’ on in th’ underpulses, with bass-lines that won’t quit.  These guys’d be a hoot to watch live, but they’re able to patch together some pretty hefty beats, that would serve you well on (either) th’ dancefloor, or waitin’ fer’ th’ “down” to come. I liked it enough to give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… but don’t expect what ya’ normally get… this is different!   Contact at 508 7th St. NE, # 5, C’ville, VA 22902, on their pages at   or via e-mail to    Rotcod Zzaj

Bryan Baker – BLIND MIME CONFESSIONS, VOL1:    Anyone who has followed the antics of the home-taper/producer “underground” over the last 20-25 years will know that Bryan runs GAJOOB, “HOMEMADEMUSIC” & several other web/print-based activities that have formed cornerstones for the independent music community.  What many do/may not know is that Baker also plays… & quite masterfully, I might add!  He has included solo pieces, mixes he’s made & also includes several collaborative pieces… my favorite on the CD is “Ache”, (track 3) which includes Scott Carr, DeVico, Kelli Wise & John McCoy, via the TapeGerm Collective… this tune rocks, people!   ‘nother interesting piece is cut 6, “I’m Watching”, with Gregg Allen (once again, via the TapeGerm Collective)… this suckah’ literally throbs with excitement!  With alll th’ different styles represented here, you can’t go wrong.   This is one of the best collections of Baker’s work to date…. for listeners who want to expand their musical horizons, &  hear what’s gonna’ be happening tomorrow, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  GREAT stuph!  Contact via Bryan’s pages at   Rotcod Zzaj

Inu Yaroh – NOSTRADUMS LIVE:    I wouldn’t wish this nightmarish screaming match on my enemies… on th’ other hand, this definitely is improvised & spontaneous; so, if you can deal with a bit of pain in yer’ ears, you may find something of merit here.  Th’ vocalist is a highest prominence, with th’ reeds & percussives comin’ right in behind, on this total assualt on your mind… I’ve been in (a few) sessions where anger was th’ key ingredient projected, & while it serves as a release for th’ players, it doesn’t do a lot for th’ listener, unless they’ve been skagged out for about 3 months.  Then again, if you dig defiance, & total lack of convention, this will be th’ TICKET for ya’.   For fans of early W.O.O. recordings, I’d give this one a RECOMMENDED… all others beware!  Contact through Public Eysore, at 3301 Dewey #8, Omaha, NE 6 8105, on the site at   or via email to     Rotcod Zzaj

18to49 – TARGET MARKET:    You think you’ve heard the absurd?  You think you know who th’ wizards of weird are?  THINK AGAIN!  This is th’ 21st century equivalent to Monty Python, only in audio mode.  There are (actually) quite surprising elements in the recording, & th’ sonics are excellent.  If you’re searching for “music with meaning”, move on, buster… this stuph is played for it’s “fun potential”, & there’s a great deal of nonsense here, to be sure!  Most of it is tongue in cheek, tho’ I didn’t quite identify with their position(s) on abortion… wotz’ new? (Point/Counterpoint:   This late bulletin quoted from an e-mail from thee artistes corn-sarned… “I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The only thing I would change is that our music is definitely not tongue in cheek or nonsensical.  We are serious artists with a serious message”)   Eseht Syug Nrut Gnihtyreve sdrawkcab & then expect you to figure it all out.   Track 3, “Back Of The Canister” makes me think 18to49 has been listening to my ol’ friend Forest Richey, aka Ficus Strangulensis – but that’s prob’ly before their time.  In th’ overall, for those enchanted by insanity, this CD gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… if yer’ “normal”, avoid it at all costs!  Contact via or e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Kangaroo Note – SOUNDNESS:    Yet another imrov excursion in from our friends at Public Eyesore.   This CD features some very interesting percussion based on-the-fly compositions from Japan.  Well-framed (by the percussion) electronics whirl/swirl yer’ mind into an even worse mess than th’ mashed potatoes at C-mas dinner… in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d whipped in a few shrooms to liven up th’ mix.  There are some nice reeds (Misaya Kimura) in th’ mix, too, particularly on track 3, “Twelve Notes 1”.  Some very creative moments here, definitely at “the edge”, & not stodgy in approach!  The group is able to integrate electronics cleanly into th’ mix, without making it come across sounding like some spaceship with flat tires.   This one gets enough high marks from my ears to rate it as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener enchanted by “new & exciting” improvised music!  A definite KEEPER!  Contact through Public Eysore, at 3301 Dewey #8
Omaha, NE 6 8105, on the site at   or via email to     Rotcod Zzaj