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Cactus Truck: Brand New For China!

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Cactus Truck: Brand New For China! John Dikeman is one of the most interesting saxophonists now operating in the Amsterdam scene. He is a charismatic player, well-versed in the legacy of modern and free jazz as his recent releases— Across the sky, with bassist Raoul Van Der Weide and drummer Klaus Kugel (Not Two, 2012); and Nihil is Now (Stone Floor, 2012), with the Universal Indians trio—testify. Still, it is the Cactus Truck trio that represents Dikeman at his best.

This trio— with bassist/guitarist Jasper Stadhouders and drummer Onno Govaert, has its roots in other power outfits like the electric groups of Peter Brötzmann (Last Exit, Hairy Bones and Trio Roma), The Thing and Zu. Brutal, furious and uncompromising, but with punk aesthetics; meaning that this trio plays fast, with a dirty sound and often ridiculously short pieces.

The sonic assault begins with the longest piece, "Aporia"— the A side, of the vinyl version of this album— ten minutes of explosive, skronky playing by all three musicians. Dikeman's dominant screams pierce the sky, Stadhouders' distorted and aggressive bass and guitar lines intensifies the sonic mayhem and Govaert's fractured, unpredictable rhythmic pattern keeps all on their edge.

The B side begins with another super-fast sonic attack, the compact, 26-second "Search and Restore." The other pieces—"Coitophobe" and "Sweet Movie"—still continue in a similarly muscular, energetic vein, but with more open dynamics and room for solo articulations. 24 chaotic and noisy seconds of "Plork" seal the vinyl version.

The bonus pieces on the CD version include the punkish "The snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea," that sounds like it's as paying tribute to improvised dynamics of fellow Dutch bend The Ex (and The Ex's guitarist, Terrie Hessels, collaborated with the trio). The 23 seconds of explosive "La la la la labia time!" conclude this wild ride.

Brand New For China! clocks at compact 30 minutes, but all offer noisy bliss.


Track Listing: Aporia; Search and Restore; Coitophobe; Sweet Movie; Plork; The snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea; La la la la labia time!.

Personnel: John Dikeman: soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones; Jasper Stadhouders: guitar, bass; Onno Govaert: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Public Eyesore


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