steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Zed Salt / Mark Flake

"Fragmintia" CDR

Wood Records

Genres: impov, experimental, diy

Wood Records
1604 Central
Dodge City KS
67801 USA

May 26 - Jun 1 2003

As the Wood website explains, Fragmintia is "30 minutes of morally corrupt and warped improvisational ditties from MWF and Indiana multi-instrumentalist ZED SALT! Skewed and yet relaxing. Atonal yet ambient."  But don't let words like "atonal" and "improvisational" make you think this is a boring avant-garde exercise - it's quite the contrary, actually.

This disc is comprised of sixteen short improvisatory pieces, and while they are definitely left-of-centre, there's also a surprising amount of accessibility present.  "frgmntia#7," for example, is an almost Eugene Chadbourne-esque instrumental folk banjo number; while it's only a bit longer than a minute, it succeeds in setting a dark, moody tone.  "wah-wah impasse," meanwhile, consists of a throbbing bass-line and a nice supporting nest of guitar strumming.  "dancing dick," on the other hand, is a goofy guitar soundscape with some funny lyrics about a "pencil of a man" called "Dancing Dick."  "frgmntia#3", the album's longest song, follows "dancing dick," creating a deliberate juxtaposition - it's a three minute, haunting bass and guitar improvisation that slows things down into eerie mode.

All in all, I like this disc a lot.  A great deal of talent is directed into a number of unconventional ideas, and the results are stunning.  Experimental audiences will enjoy the daring nature of what Zed and Mark are doing, while more conventional listeners will find themselves enjoying something they've never been exposed to before.  Recommended - this is, so far, one of the best discs on the fantastic Wood Records, and an excellent introduction to the label's style.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]