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Prem Lall

More CD Reviews
Date of Interview/Article:11/7/2001
The following CD reviews were submitted by Prem Lall. Prem hosts a weekly radio show which can be heard on KUSF San Francisco, 90.3 FM, every Monday 6:00-9:00 AM PST. This multi-genre show features interesting music from around the globe. For more information, visit Prem's web site Prem Lall

Spezza Rotto: Cinque Canzoni (self-released CD-R EP)
absurdism prevails...this release immediately calls to mind the choppy rhythm-heavy genius of Ruins (for whom Spezza Rotto opened when they were in town, incidentally), except that in this case the lyrics scream forth in obstreperous Italian rather than Japanonsense; warped time-signature drumming converges with haywire vocals, basslines, and guitar riffs to rattle your skull on this brief offering

Terminal 4: Terminal 4 (Truckstop label)
quirky avant jazz from this grouping of Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jeb Bishop, and others; none of these pieces are particularly complicated, as most feature regular rhythms and melodies, but all feature unexpected departures to continually roil the cauldron and capture your attention

Steven R. Smith: Tableland (Emperor Jones label)
very ominous, bass-heavy instrumental compositions that creep along slowly; these pieces involve quiet thunder, dark bell tolls, tremulous organs, vibrato guitar and the like as well as plenty of background reverb to darken the sunniest of days--the suicidal should be warned not to listen to this

Matthew Shipp: Matthew Shipp's New Orbit (Thirsty Ear label)
dark, lurking improvisation for piano, bass, drums, and trumpet; Shipp is joined by William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, and Wadada Leo Smith for a session of understated volatility that amalgamates the cerebral with the visceral

Schematic: Schematic 4.1 (self-released MP3/CD-R)
apocalyptic, mind-numbing noizart brimming with abrasiveness, shrapnel, and electric shock therapy; this is as raw as electronic music gets, so don't expect pleasant beats or cliché soundscapes--expect to cringe in fear as churning, strategic chaos envelops you

Mat Maneri Quartet: Blue Decco (Thirsty Ear label)
disquieting compositions and improvisation for violin, piano, bass, and drums--William Parker and Gerald Cleaver of the Matthew Shipp Trio join Maneri here on bass and drums, as does pianist Craig Taborn, and Shipp plays the behind-the-scenes role of producer; murky intervals and ominous basslines often contrast with the nippy briskness of Maneri's violin bows and plucks, tiptoeing at the brink of mutually assured destruction

Keuhkot: Minun Käy Sääliksi Bilharzialoista (Bad Vugum label)
dorky electro-zaniness from this one-man project by Kake Puhuu of Finland; Puhuu comingles the concrete with the abstract for an outcome bordering on the absurd as he plays numerous instruments (organ, flute, drums, etc.) and overlaps them with zaps, blips, bleeps of all kinds as well as a myriad of demented sounds

John Hughes III: Scarlet Diva|Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Hefty label)
quietly powerful rock merges with very low-key electronics/beats and an occasional lugubrious vocal for the soundtrack to this Italian flick; for those of you sad to see the dissolution of John Hughes' earlier band, Bill Ding, this album will bring back fond memories, as Hughes is joined by his former Bill Ding bandmates Dan Snazelle and Rick Embach for a return to form sounding very similar to his previous band, but with more instrumentals here than on any Bill Ding offering

Tom Cora|various artists: Hallelujah, Anyway|Remembering Tom Cora (Tzadik label)
a tribute to the late cellist who redefined the role of his instrument in modern music; Cora himself appears on half of the tracks of this double-CD compilation accompanied by his peers from the avant-garde scene, while the remainder of the tracks feature his former cohorts imitating his compelling style and adapting it to their own domains

Califone: Roomsound (Perishable label)
soft-spoken, spooky folk-laden rock for Califone's first full-length release; beneath the surface of these tunes often lie carefully embedded experimental electronics and unexpected sounds, and the result sounds like no other folk rock outfit

Adult Rodeo: Long-Range, Rapid-Fire (Four States Fair label)
aloof kookiness returns on this third full-length release from Adult Rodeo, the band's first after leaving Kramer's Shimmydisc label; Kramer's influence still pervades this album, since he mixed it, and it weaves its way into Adult Rodeo's signature blend of Americana, rock, reserved electronics, and twisted wit

Ornette Coleman: The Complete Science Fiction Sessions (Columbia label)
re-issue of the 1971 sessions of this free-jazz pioneer, which were initially split between two releases--the 1972 Science Fiction and 1982 Broken Shadows albums; tight, aggressive improv. for sax/trumpet/bass/drums with sultry vocals or spoken word on a few tracks suspended above the fray

The Splatter Trio: The Splatter Trio (Rastascan label)
wayward compositions and improvisation that wryly pepper sincerity with crassness and easily frustrate the indignant; Gino Robair (percussion), Myles Boisen (guitar/bass), and Dave Barrett (sax) churn out captivating, turn-on-a-dime pieces full of splorts and jabbers that maintain a sense of direction simply because the three can read each others' intent so well--often thwarting one another's puristic inclinations and in so doing challenging themselves to sculpt sentient tunes that adhere only to their
own twisted logic

Only a Mother: Feral Chickens (T.E.C. Tones label)
quirky folk mingles with subtle absurdity, involving mandolins, violins, bongos, ukuleles, bassoons, organs, zithers, banjos aplenty, and more; Frank Pahl and friends are joined occasionally by Eugene Chadbourne and Amy Denio, among others

New Klezmer Trio: Masks and Faces (Tzadik label|originally released on Nine Winds label)
slithery klezmer jazz oriented around Ben Goldberg's clarinet; John Zorn, in creating his Masada projects, was heavily influenced by the recordings of New Klezmer Trio and therefore re-released NKT's recordings (originally released on Nine Winds) on his own record label in 1996

Idiot Flesh: The Nothing Show (Rock Against Rock label/Vaccination label)
uproariously flippant histrionic rock that leaves no stone unturned, musically speaking, delving into almost every genre imaginable, from rock to cabaret to opera and beyond, bringing into play a variety of ethnic influences and instrumentation; expect to be bombarded by sardonic absurdism at each turn, as it permeates every track