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Walter Horn/Gary Kendig/Hugh Dickey: Screwdriver!

Robert Spencer By

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"1. You are feeling so good. 2. Your entire body feels relaxed and wonderful." With these dictations begins Screwdriver!, a journey to the frontiers of improvisational music led by Walter Horn (keyboards and little instruments), Gary Kendig (drums, trumpet, little instruments), Hugh Dickey (guitar, clarinet, vocals, little instruments), plus Eric Hipp on tenor sax for one track, "Hurricane Elroy."

Noise effects abound, flowing from foreground to background. Grooves come and go, floating under and above the vertiginously shifting instrumentation. "Chainsaw at Sousa's Funeral" works up a fine lather; then "Containment Apron" rebuilds again from the fringes of silence. "Hurricane Elroy" nearly reaches twenty minutes and, amidst a smorgasbord of ideas tossed around in the tumult, shows Horn at a fine Taylorian pitch. (Cf. also the title track.) Here also is a dash of Sun Ra's multilevel keyboarding. Another shift of gears comes with The Gentle Side of Walter Horn on "Sushi Lounge.") Dickey plays some dotty heavy metal guitar all through the disc; for a good chunk of this sort of thing, see "Ambulance and Gas Provided by Mutilation, Inc.," where he pitches back and forth between near-standard metallisms and glorious noise effects. His clarinet work is always attention-grabbing.

Thrash metal free improv. What a show.

| Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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