steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Ernesto Diaz-Infante / Bob Marsh

"Rags and Stones" CDR

Public Eyesore

Genres: free improv, avant-garde

Bryan Day / PE
3803 S 25th St.
Omaha, NE 68107

Dec 9 - 15 2002

Free improv. You either love it, or you don't get what the fuck's up with it. And this split-cdr will do nothing to change that. In fact, unless you already are a fan of the free improvisatory style, this album is very likely to piss you off. But to those already acquainted with the style, well, this will prove to be quite a treat.

Comprised of sparse guitarwork courtesy of Diaz-Infante and similar violin and cello by Marsh, this work calls to mind earlier material by Hans Riechel and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. The tracks all go together well, each one showcasing a different example of that talented, intricate instrument-playing that is at once interesting and entertaining.

The high points here aren't particularly strong, as the recording is solidly enjoyable throughout, though some particularly inspired bits stand out. "Third Ceremony (Evening)," for example, manages to toy with the listener's head in a prolonged near-silence where mere scuffs of strings and other noises can be heard. The effect is astounding, leaving the listener both mystified and dazzled. "Fourth Ceremony (Midnight)," which immediately follows, brings things back into perspective with an amazing effort by the two, using sophisticated plucks and rubs of the instruments to build a magnificent feeling of musical urgency.

Altogether, this split-album sees the duo of Ernesto and Bob at top form. With unmatchable talent and a zest for complex, yet sparse, sounds, the two bring an excellent style to this album. A must for fans of the genre.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks; distributed by the label; released 2002]