Well, Mike Keneally's never been noted for orthodoxy, so it's hardly surprising that he responded to drummer Marco Minnemann's invitation to improv atop a mailed 52-minute drum solo, improv the percussionist had captured in his own studio. That's what the CD of this CD / DVD set is, sectioned off into many separate parts (Minnemann first dubbed the entire original as Normalizer 2) while the DVD is yet another improv marathon, this time with both musicians present in unison, a tableau afterwards accompanied by an 40-minute conversation with the "composers" (composing is improvisation too, when you stop to think about it). Oh, and I don't know who put together the necessities for the way cool but strange cover photo of a cat amidst a real/fake environment, but it's a great piece of surreal mistaken identity and Impressionist weirdness.
Evidence is not as harsh as the art-damage music Mike's been extensively exploring—no, not that fractured, much more this time a Zappa-esque vein mashed up with free music, Carl Stalling, Harry Partch, and.hmmmm, now that I think about it, there is indeed a decent amount of damage, but it's way the heck cleaned up, more coherent, not quite so dissonant, perhaps the refinement of the form I've written about previously, hoping to see (hear) ere long. I'll have to think about it, these things are so damnably elusive. However, the long piece goes through many changes, spacing out here, running up the walls there, pulling itself inside out with eye-blinking frequency, never static except in its permanent changes.
The DVD shows us how this sort of thing occurs in real time (almost)—or unreal time, if you will. Keneally engaged in multi-dubs in a number of places on the CD but here enjoyed that privilege only in bass dub-ins. Thus, the visual portion is real, of-the-moment, whole cloth improvisation, Minnemann at a large kit, Mike playing guitar and keyboard, sometimes both simultaneously. More than once, Minnemann gets some great short solos in, using his percussion to make true percussive music a la Ron Bushy, reminding that drums can act as much more than a time-keeping device. Still, this watchable improv interlude is much more a long guitar/drums workout, often along the lines of olde krautische freakouts.
The conversation segment's interesting if you're a prog-ophile, an info junkie, a waster, a flywaller, or just the average art-geek loon eager to dig into what glides through the minds of artists on structural and aesthetic levels. It's certainly the most hand-made aspect of everything, personal-camera recorded in a moving car zooming down to Salton Sea (not sure why, but, hey, any excuse to get out to the desert is a good one). Of course, if you're listening to Keneally at all on any level, you'll be as happy with this as with everything else.
THE CD (54:00)
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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