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Shrunken Head Shop: Live in Germany

Glenn Astarita By

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This international group is captured performing improvised music in Germany, featuring guest trumpeter Dave Laczko on three tracks that reside somewhere between Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) era and experimental trumpeter Jon Hassell's work. Laczko and guitar whiz Willie Oteri have also recorded under the moniker WD-41. Indeed, both artists are known for pushing the envelope within progressive rock and avant, jazz fusion circles, assertively manifesting these exploratory processes here.

The set is primarily constructed on slow to medium tempo improvisations with a concentrated focus on experimental sound- sculpting mechanisms and unorthodox phrasings amid changeable motifs. At times, the musicians execute temperate vistas and surge story lines into an interminable netherworld, partly due to Oteri's volume control techniques and elongated notes, and Laczko's echo-drenched lines. They shift cadences, coinciding with a few psycho burnouts via Jan Fitschen's rangy Chapman Stick phrases and electronic effects, where violinist Sylvia Oelkrug intermittently initiates a spiraling attack with streaming staccato lines.

Oteri and his cohorts delve into a scrappy search and conquer mission atop asymmetrical rhythms on "Tracks of the Mystery Ape." Here, Fitschen's brash and expansive fuzz-toned effects help launch matters into a corpulent rock groove as they let the chips fall where they may. During "Wrath of Bernd," Oteri opens the floodgates with his bizarre voicings, spanning discordant theme-building jaunts, tinted with melodic overtones, foreboding lyricism and howling single-note riffs while riding above a perky rock groove. Overall, the upbeat program is framed on the artists' striking intuitiveness, deterministic interplay, and lucidly created electronic dreamscapes.

Track Listing: Legends of the Litfass; Whales of the Black Forest; Celebration of the Tsantsa; Tracks of the Mystery Ape; Wrath of the Bernd.

Personnel: Willie Oteri: guitar, live loops; Sylvia Oelkrug: violin; Jan Fitschen: bass, Chapman Stick; Schroeder: drums; Dave Laczko: trumpet (1-3); Allesandro Arcuri: bass (4); Konrad Wiemann: percussion (4).

Title: Live in Germany | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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