This is about what I'd expected...and less. In the 70s, there were several ensembles indulging airily open progressions, the best of which was probably the Third Ear Band. Some, like Between, struggled to make a Oregon-ish stab at elevating themselves to a plane to accommodate artistic desires, succeeding to uneven degrees and much better served when the group collapsed, yielding Peter Michael Hamel as a solo act. Some time later, groups like Organic Soundscape Music issued cassettes here and there through the dippy OPtion magazine, most often just noodling and meandering attempting to reach an austerish cogency, only very occasionally able to.
The packaging here is stultifyingly, indeed insultingly, unremarkable in its presentation: just a slimline case, no liner, and the disc. The 8x11 info sheet accompanying is gorge-goadingly New Agey tweedle, and the music itself ill-recorded, but…I have to confess a certain small attraction. A smelting pot of gamelon, free jazz, nocturne, mellow freakbeat, and whatever whim crossed the players' soporized minds, Open Music Ensemble possesses a sloppy-ish grace coupled with a friendly vibe tempered by New Age backgrounds that at least tread beyond the kind of poot issued by the One Spirit Book Club (shudder!).
If this were a gaggle of kids jamming at a local jamocha shop, I'd be more impressed, but it isn't. It's a round-up of adults who should knock off listening to Glen Velez and dig into Alain Kremski, ECM discs, and the Trummerflora Collective instead. There are only two songs, one very long, the other not, but don't expect a whole lot in either enterprise. A number of reviewers turned feeble quarter-cartwheels trying to sound enthusiastic about the gig, but ended up saccharine, strained, and ditzy.
Proceed with caution.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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