Guitarist Fred Frith lists maniacal laughter as another instrument on the collaborative session with trumpeter Lesli Dalaba, pianist Eric Glick Rieman, and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. Indeed, a sense of animated gaiety countered with sadness protrudes from many angles. The strings, horn, and keys all promote references to uncontained frolicking, remorsefulness, and many other emotions of the heart and mind. The quartet represents a tight collective responding to the wide-ranging feelings promoted by each member, ranging from stark depression to overt jubilation. References to the otherworldly also play an important role in this eclectic mirage.
Echo effects, reverberant retorts, and remote tonality filter through Dalaba’s trumpet calls. She produces short, succinct lines of crispness, drawing the music into dark nether regions. Her mystic process seduces the band to join her. Glick Rieman works circumspectly to emote long, wispy sound currents of wind, and Kihlstedt makes her violin shriek with piercing jabs of unpredictability. Frith, in turn, takes an inspired journey into this strange world of atonal sound. He uses staccato punches to penetrate deeply into the bowels of the excitement while bonding with the far cries and whispers oozing from the association. Overt disruptions emerge at unexpected times from all musicians, only to be calmed by gentle breezes of sensitivity.
”Worm Anvils,” one of three extended jaunts taken by the band, distinguishes itself with its longer, flowing lines. The piece has hypnotic qualities, spinning ’round and ’round in dervish fashion to draw one deeper and deeper into the eddies of the unknown. “Lucy Has a New Pet Kitty” fills the air with purring trumpet whimpers from Dalaba, while Frith and Kihlstedt surround the playfulness with aggressive attacks on the strings. The music continually spirals into a vortex of eerie sensations. Glick Rieman makes his piano speak in strange electronic tongues. His approach often emulates spatial traveling into far-off galaxies.
The quartet submerges into dreamland on the lengthy closing number, only to abruptly awaken in a sonic maelstrom. Rivers rush in rapid search for the sea as the quartet opens its floodgates to allow these waters to seek new levels of emotion. A sense of connectivity dominates. The recording is synergistic – independent musicians reacting spontaneously to the stimuli at hand. It results in music with serrated edges, certain to challenge seekers of life’s more mysterious elements.
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Personnel: Lesli Dalaba-trumpet; Fred Frith-guitar, maniacal laughter; Eric Glick Rieman-prepared and
extended Rhodes electric piano; Carla Kihlstedt-violin, electric violin, Stroh violin. Recorded: (no
date given), Oakland, CA.