TU - TU
Ambient washes precede a crashing drum intro from the redoubtable Pat Mastelotto on opener Untamed Chicken and Trey Gunn proceeds to add cacophonous Warr guitar to the mix as the beats pound along. A thoroughly unhinged intro to an album that is definitely not for the lover of conventional song structure.
Gunn extracts noises from his instrument that resemble a muezzin put through a mangler on Absinthe & a Cracker (hear above) lending it a very mysterious feel indeed, before laying on us a more conventional Crimson-style solo from the Thrak school. Crimson fans will by now know what to expect having no doubt dipped their collective toes into the hit-and-miss improv world of the ProjeKcts. Like those works this is entirely improvised, sometimes enhanced by vocal samples as on the highly unsettling The NOOSE, where Crimsoid nightmares channel Damo Suzuki in a state of mental collapse for nearly seven minutes. This is the kind of thing that my better half will any second refer to as "a right bloody racket" if any of this filters through to the other end of house, and she would be right, no question. However, sometimes I quite enjoy "a right bloody racket" but I have to be in a suitably wilful and perverse mood to properly appreciate it.
Make My Grave In The Shape Of A Heart lurches along in nervous trauma, Pat & Trey showing that as King Crimson's rhythm section they must have frightened even Fripp at times. Luckily more structure is present in the darkly ambient tones of Terry's Breath and this reissue features a video montage of that piece, which is as impressionistic as you would imagine. The track falls apart at the end into quiet buzzings and snippings before melding into the next aural threat, the splendidly titled Snap, Crackle, Moo complete with odd bovine noises wrenched from one of Trey's instruments over a slow cyclic Neu-like back beat on bass and tom-toms, assuming the Germans had been at the absinthe, with or without the cracker.
Pat gets to play what sound like hand tom-toms on Hotel Fandango which in comparison to what has gone before is remarkably calming, waves of touch guitar washing over the relatively conventional rhythm. Of course, the thing disintegrates into belching wah-bass and sundry lurching about, as these two are not here to entertain, this is art, or possibly artifice, who knows? Mystery Die...Die...Die with its rock solid bass track and "drunken hand percussion" cries out for Fripp to cover it in noisy dissonant chords, you can almost feel it.
The album ends with five shorter tracks, the first three focusing on the duo's rhythm work without much embellishment and while interesting are largely unessential. Dakota and Coda To Dakota end the album back in calmer ambient territory, being reminiscent of Eno in places.
"Pat's studio footage" consists of four short snippets of the euphemistically named "loft studio", really a load of techy equipment in the spare room of someone's flat. It's not worth watching twice.
Not a CD I'll being going back to a lot, even as a big fan of all things Crimsoid, but I certainly have a higher opinion of it that my esteemed DPRP colleague! With a bit of judicious editing this may have borne more plays, but at nearly an hour long it overstays its welcome a tad. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but Pat and Trey are not going to compromise. One for the fans only I'd say.
01. Untamed Chicken (5:13)
02. Absinthe And A Cracker (5:39)
03. The NOOOSE (7:20)
04. XTCU2 (2:16)
05. Make My Grave In The Shape Of A Heart (4:14)
06. Terry's Breath (6:02)
07. Snap, Crackle, Moo (3:02)
08. Hotel Fandango (6:13)
09. Misery Die...Die...Die (4:57)
10. Orlando In Bloom (2:25)
11. Pony (1:45)
12. Jamoohra (2:52)
13. Dakota (3:10)
14. Coda To Dakota (2:12)
01. Terry's Breath video montage
02-05. Pat's studio footage
Trey Gunn - Bass, touch and fretless guitars
Pat Mastelotto - Electric and acoustic drums/samples