[pe158]Pet The Tiger
Hail The Traveler
Successful Utilization of Elements
[pe156]Philip Gayle
Mammoth Flower
[pe155]Seeded Plain
Badminton, The Volleys
[pe154]Bryan Day & Dereck Higgins
Woven Territories
[pe153]John Krausbauer & David Maranha
[pe152]Evan Lipson
Echo Chamber
[pe151]Guro Skumsnes Moe & Philippe Petit
[pe150]Brasilia Laptop Orchestra
10 yEars aLive
[pe149]Bill Brovold
[pe148]Illusion of Safety & Z'ev
Temporary Presence
[pe145]Pet The Tiger
Gaze Emanations
[pe144]Ashtray Navigations & Anla Courtis
Protozoic Rock Express
[pe143]Alan Sondheim
Future Speed Future
[pe142]Albert / Day / Kreimer
[pe141]Bill Brovold's Stone Soup
Michael Goldberg Variations
[pe140]Michael Gendreau
Polvo Seran, Mas Polvo Enamorado
[pe139]Hélène Breschand & Elliott Sharp
Chansons du Crépuscule
[pe138]Alan Sondheim / Azure Carter / Luke Damrosch
[pe137]Collision Stories
Those Missing Will Complete Us
[pe136]Ghost In The House
Second Sight
[pe135]Henry Kaiser / Alan Licht
Skip to the Solo
[pe134]Peter Aaron / Brian Chase Duo
[pe133]Alan Sondheim / Azure Carter / Luke Damrosch
[pe131]Many Arms & Toshimaru Nakamura
[pe130]Ben Bennett / Jack Wright
[pe128]Music For Hard Times
City of Cardboard
[pe127]Tetuzi Akiyama & Anla Courtis
Naranja Songs
[pe126]Massimo Falascone
Variazioni Mumacs
[pe125]Auris + Gino
Fantasy Remover
[pe123]Azure Carter & Alan Sondheim
Avatar Woman
[pe122]Various Artists
The Unscratchable Itch: A Tribute To Little Fyodor
[pe121]Nels Cline / Elliott Sharp
Open The Door
[pe120]Pretty Monsters
[pe119]Cactus Truck
Brand New For China!
[pe118]Belcher / Bivins Double Quartet
[pe117]Normal Love
Survival Tricks
[pe116]Ron Anderson / Robert L. Pepper / David Tamura / Philippe Petit
Closed Encounters of the 4 Minds
[pe115]Philip Gayle
Babanço Total
[pe114]Dino Felipe
Sorta' Bleu
Radio Friendly
[pe111]Little Fyodor
Peace is Boring
[pe110]Courtis / Yamamoto / Yoshimi
Live at Kanadian
[pe109]Bob Marsh
[pe108]Tartar Lamb
60 Metonymies
[pe107]Shelf Life
[pe106]A Tomato a Day
The Moon is Green
[pe105]D + D
[pe104]The Mighty Vitamins
[pe103]Smut / OVO
Split 7"
[pe102]Bill Horist / Marron
[pe101]Richard Trosper
The Ocean
No Sleep till Babylon
Damn It!!
[pe97]Emily Hay / Marcos Fernandes
We Are
[pe96]The Machine Gun TV
Live In Japan
[pe94]Mike Pride
The Ensemble is an Electronic Device
[pe93]Jorge Castro
[pe92]Yagihashi Tsukasa
[pe91]Eftus Spectun
The Tocks Clicking
[pe89]Amy Denio
[pe88]Eric Cook
[pe87] Onid & Isil
Devotional Hymns for the Women of Anu
[pe85]Che Guevara Memorial Marching (and Stationary) Accordion Band
[pe84]Day / Boardman
One to Seven
[pe83]Knot + Over
Vertonen 9
[pe81]Blue Collar
Lovely Hazel
[pe79]Jesse Krakow
Oceans in the Sun
[pe78]Diaz-Infante / Forsyth / Scherzberg
A Barren Place of Overwhelming Simplicity
[pe76]Khoury / Shearer / Hall
[pe75]Renato Rinaldi
The Time and the Room
[pe74]Masami Kawaguchi
Live in December
[pe72]Watch the Stereo
[pe71]Modern Day Urban Barbarians
The Endless Retreat
[pe70]The Bunny Brains
Holiday Massacre '98
[pe69]Jack Wright & Bob Marsh
Birds in the Hand
[pe68]Free From Disguise
[pe67]Jad Fair & Jason Willett
[pe66]Baker / Baker / Bloor
Terza Rima

Period - 2


Charlie Looker - Baritone & Acoustic Guitar
Mike Pride - Drums & Percussion
Chuck Bettis - Vocals & Electronics on 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7
Darius Jones - Alto Saxophone on 3, 4 & 6
Sam Hillmer - Tenor Saxophone on 3 & 4

(Something Else) For years, now, Mike Pride has joined forces with Charlie Looker to make some off-kilter improvised music that touches on several of their favorite bases at once: experimental metal, free form jazz, art rock, electro-acoustic music and the like. Period, as this union of the drummer and guitarist call themselves, hasn’t been confined to just Pride and Looker; Chuck Bettis often sat in with his croaking vocals and light electronic touches, and saxophonists Darius Jones (Little Women) and Sam Hillner (the Zs) sometimes participated in the fun, too. Pride and Looker did make an obscure album, Period, back in ’06, and it immediately sold out of its limited run. Since then they’ve made Bettis a full-time member and recently signed up with Public Eyesore Records to make a belated follow-up. 2 (on sale May 20, 2014), as this record is called, is probably not going to offer any surprises to anyone who has seen them perform over the years in NYC whenever they took a break from their other projects (Pride alone leads Bacteria To Boys and Drummer’s Corpse), but for everyone else, this record is going to serve as their “howdy” to the world. 2 is a blatant display of doom but not blatant display of chops, at least, not in the jazz sense of chops. It’s a temperament thing, and much of 2 moves at a glacial pace, and yet, the fury is all there. Slow motion death metal. The seven tracks are all named after numbers, and they aren’t ordered accordingly. “Two” (the title song?) features Looker on an electric baritone guitar, a perfect instrument for laying down the doom with just a single strum, and Looker’s instrument of choice throughout most of the album. Pride’s crawling march is impactful, too: much as a good guitarist can wring passion from a slow solo, he wrests impending doom from his gradually unfolding fills. The song does reach up to a more intense apex at the end but there remains an unhurried pace. “Four,” on the other hand, thrashes, and thrashes hard for the first four minutes. Bettis lets loose primal screams and Pride unloads. In what is a pattern for other tracks, the violence subsides, and the three peel away from each other to regroup with sparser texture; dead space becomes a fourth instrument. “Six” ratchets up the intensity even further. So much so, it’s over in little over two minutes. They were probably exhausted by then. By the time we reach “Ten,” the duo playing at the beginning has expanded to a quintet with Jones and Hillmer helping them make hay. Hearing Bettis wail through his throat amidst the wailing by the saxes of Jones and Hillmer, it becomes clear that Bettis’ role is really that of a saxophonist without a sax, and his growls and yells go hand in glove with the horns. Looker and Pride largely stay out of their way here, but both assert themselves against the nasty front line for “Nine.” That results in a monster cacophony for the first few minutes, and like “Four,” drop down to near silence; you can hear Looker’s amp buzz as everyone make threatening spooky noises but never explode again. Looker swaps his baritone for an acoustic guitar during “Eleven.” Jones emits small random tones in the same style as Looker, and Pride creates soft shapes to frame the mood. Those shapes turn into a restless rumble, which lulls Jones out of his shell, and his expressive, voluminous remarks on his alto make up easily the most beautiful moment of the record. Taking in 2 makes it easy to imagine why the first album quickly disappeared from stores: music of such profound anger that speaks louder in what is held back than in what is discharged is rarely done so effectively. - S. Victor Aaron

(NYC Jazz Record) Drummer Mike Pride is on a nomadic quest of bold, genre-encompassing deconstruction, dramatically shifting from hardcore punk to avant garde jazz to noise music with From Bacteria to Boys’ post-bop rollick and its antithesis, Drummer’s Corpse, an assassin drummer collective engaging in deafening thrash-jazz carnage. Completing the troika is Period, Pride’s improvisational, metal-leaning revolving-door outfit he co-leads with guitarist Charlie Looker. Eight years after its eponymous debut, Period returns with 2, which maintains the sinister minimalism of its 26-minute, single-composition predecessor but finds Pride and Looker augmenting its violence with tortured screams and hurricane-force saxophone blasts, courtesy of voice / electronics manipulator Chuck Bettis and Darius Jones and Sam Hilmer on alto and tenor, respectively. Period has upped the slowburning doom while escalating the tension even further over seven ‘composed-in-the-moment’ pieces. Fittingly captured at Queens’ metal recording hub, Menegroth, the Thousand Caves, 2 begins with the deep thrusts and jolts of the 17-minute “Two”, an ostensible sequel to “1”, the lone track found on its debut (Period’s songs are numbered, albeit devoid of sequence). Before the guests enter the fray, Pride and Looker engage in an epic sparring match, a sparse and taut marathon of fits and spurts of ominous baritone guitar-fueled dissonant serrations and overpowering and fierce thwacking. But while “Two” showcases the rapport and unspoken language of Pride and Looker, it’s Bettis who transforms Period into a beast, helping morph Pride and Looker’s already imposing vehicle into a demonic, howling terror, indecipherably yelping over the sonic din on the epic “Four” and brutally jousting with Jones and Hilmer’s shrieks on the heavy wallop of “Ten”. Meanwhile, Looker’s baritone lends bass-booming vibes on the skronking, math-metal cataclysm of “Nine” and “Six”, two complex noisefests. Removed from the scene for ages, save sporadic live gigs, Period has rightfully assumed its place in the avant-metal spectrum. - Brad Cohen

(Deaf Sparrow) God damn, son, this is good. There’s something naturally frightening about free death jazz (we just made that up) if it’s done right, suffice to say this is done right. Public Eyesore is a wonderful label run basically by one guy that’s been dishing out some incredible releases over the years. The genius of Bryan Day, who runs an incredible outfit of musical weirdness in California, Eyesore (as well as its sub label Eh?) is known primarily for experimental artistry in areas such as improv, acoustic, and the like. So, it’s a little more upper-rung, shall we say, a little more wine-with-cheese than beer-with-wheeze. Not to say anything negative about all the guttural power we often receive, but it’s nice to see this kind of label taking risks and doing something like this, teetering on the edge between classic and strange. Take a risk that ends up like 2, and the world will thank you for it. We’re currently getting ready to do a nice expose of some of his stuff in a big article, but this one deserved separate attention. Period is three guys from New York who dabble in free jazz, death metal (with some blackened char), electronics, and glacial rock. They released a coveted and extremely rare S/T in 2006 you’ll never find anywhere, and it’s good, it’s free jazz/rock. But this? This is beast, this is teeth biting down in your skin, this is an entire species wiped out of existence by a single monstrosity. Check out this sample track (titled “Four”) as we get started. 2 is a musical creature of ancient times on many levels, it’s the thing you pray to when you pull out the tape deck and cast in something of the avant, no need for the garde part, that’s too trite. This is for the next level of cult worship. The artistic presentation is pretty typical for the Sore, and that being said something perhaps a bit more fitting would have been nice, because the random, abstract-expressionist thing going on here really doesn’t tell you anything about it, and in fact many of the discs he’s released look similar to this. Is it going to be acoustic experimentation, soft noise electronics, what? It doesn’t prepare you at all, at all. Because 2 is not what it seems. It really has nothing to do with these splotches of ink with vague suggestions of faces and bodies hidden somewhere in there, it’s a much more beastly thing. It takes the free jazz/rock approach of Period’s first incarnation and takes it to the next step in development, with some sickening results. We’re talking the good sick, here, by the way, sign us up without vaccinations, please. 2 consists of seven tracks, three of which are over ten minutes long, the others at least three, but they all go a pretty lengthy distance for this kind of music. Separating these into songs was perhaps unnecessary in terms of the musical essence, but absolutely required to save yourself from any moment of it, because it’s coming without any sense of morality. There’s a harsh, grating presence to the free style at first, but then the drums come in; cavernous echos with off-kilter tempo that create a rumbling that comes and goes, suddenly crashes back into your face again, and then fades as the dissonant chords and atmospheric bass keep going. It’s like the movement of the ocean away from the shore before the tsunami makes a wreck of the place. That happens by track two (linked above), where Period starts utilizing vocal, as in screams of agony, stuff that would cause the most corpse-painted of “evil” black metal vocalists to shit his pants and turn exclusively to Baptist choir. Everything lacks a general, purposeful flow, your mind reaches frantically to find something to latch onto, but Period doesn’t allow that to happen, oh no, they keep belting you about the brain, ruining all sense of musicality, suddenly bringing some out of the chaos, and then battering it down again like a prisoner in the Gulag who pauses to take a short breath and then is forced to mine for more gold. It’s so rare to hear chaos sound this spectacular. The screams, the pounding drums, the randomness turned organized terror, the wailing saxophone, it’s endless, forceful, it will age you by thirty years by the sheer volume of its power. 2 needs to be an entirely new genre, please, someone make it happen. - Stanley Stepanic

(Downtown Music Gallery) Period features the duo of Charlie Looker (once of the Zs) on bari & acoustic guitars and Mike Pride (bandleader & diverse collaborator) on drums plus guests Chuck Bettis on vocals & electronics, Darius Jones on alto sax and Sam Hillmer (also from the Zs) on tenor sax. The Brooklyn-based band Zs were/are nearly impossible to pin down since they remain in between categories: modern classical, rock, jazz or even noise. Although this music is supposedly spontaneously improvised, it doesn't really sound that way. Mr. Looker on electric guitar and Mr. Pride on drums play in a deliberate, focused and tight way. A loud, brittle, caustic guitar with tight cued (?) and powerful post-punk drumming make this a solid duo. The first piece is long (nearly 17 minutes) and just features the duo, improvising tightly together. Although the volume is more rock-like in sound, the duo rarely play any normal rock riffs, always shifting gears and never staying in the same place for very long. DMG's own Chuck Bettis adds his voice (screaming powerfully) and electronics to all but two of these pieces and does a fine job adding some punk-like brutality. Up & coming Downtown sax master, Darius Jones, also adds his own unique and powerful sound to three of these pieces. Although some of this music is rather scary and intense, it remains consistently focused like a well-planned assault. - Bruce Lee Gallanter

(Kathodik) Malsano sbocco a due (Mike Pride e Charlie Looker, batteria e percussioni, chitarra baritona e acustica), ampliato organicamente all'occorrenza (sino all'esser quintetto). Metallico, aggressivo e in composizione istantanea. Voce, elettronica e due sax (alto e tenore), a rimpolpare la non esile formula di base (con prima uscita omonima nel 2006). Che indossa le maglie nere dell'hardcore e del metal, gesticolando impro, con la grazia di un Gira, pre-rincoglionimento da bovaro illuminato o, in alternativa garbata, come l'urto urbano in parossismo alcolico degli Slab! (qualcuno ricorda?). Aperture, strappi e pestaggi, ottusa innodia e interminabili punizioni (le estenuanti Two, Four, Nine). Di corrosione e sbriciolamento, cupi rimbombi e sottile humor nero. Feedback e ginocchia sbucciate. D'ossa in flessione e sorridenti faccine Melvins / Boredoms. Primitivismi contemporanei, gargarismi vocali e doppia cassa, memorie Bailey ad arpeggiar scomposte nel mezzo. Grattugiamenti in slow motion e accelerazioni scartavetranti. Al massimo volume consentito, con il randello pronto, in attesa del vicino. Dritto nella lista dei migliori del 2014. - Marco Carcasi

(Chattanooga Pulse) Who said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”? I hope not Michael Vick. But anyway, that quote comes to mind when listening to the second album from the NYC-based outfit Period. On the appropriately titled 2, arriving eight years after the band’s debut, although there are passages with torrents of notes and beats, what often stand out the most are the passages that are more sparing; instead of going for the million-notes-a-second speed-shredding, guitarist Charlie Looker is more selective, allowing each note to have a greater gravity and intensity, perhaps like a raging chihuahua, knowing that a single note can have a big sound. The stirring album manages to draw from sludge metal and doom rock and also avant-thrash-jazz; drummer Mike Pride does not shy away from meaty drum outbursts, and on the track “Two,” he imbues the throb of rock while upholding a free, unfettered style, ever so gradually elevating the magnitude. Looker switches between repeated pedal notes and higher dissonant chords, as if he is having a confounding conversation with himself, with one unyielding voice and a different, confused and conflicted voice. On “Four,” vocalist Chuck Bettis provides his disquieting wordless shouts and wails while Looker gets his money’s worth out of two notes and Pride beats away in a gloriously and satisfyingly indulgent manner; after a little breathing room in the middle, Bettis ends with pained gasps and gurgles. Several tracks feature the formidable saxophonists Sam Hillmer (of Zs) and Darius Jones (of Little Women), adding to the terror-jazz improvisations. In certain ways, Period is similar to John Zorn’s avant-grind trio Painkiller, but Period feels more unpredictable and genuinely unhinged. Confounding expectations, the albums ends in a generally softer style with the acoustic-guitar-enhanced “Eleven,” which starts with ample space before getting nervous and bustling, and “Eight,” with bowed cymbals, nonsensical guitar chords and softer—yet still crazy—vocals, providing an enigmatic ending for an otherwise severe and fierce album. - Ernie Paik

(Disaster Amnesiac) Of all the Public Eyesore music that Disaster Amnesiac has heard so far, it is Period's music that is the most challengingly heavy. Drummer Mike Pride and guitarist Charlie Looker begin this corker of a disc with sparse duo action, tom tom ostinato pounding circles around crisp, abstract, and bravely clean guitar strumming ("no stairways to heaven", so sayeth St. Sharrock). It's often the case that these kinds of freedom pursuits have a kind of manic, dense activity within their process. Period manages to leave all kinds of sonic crevices within theirs, and yet to obtain a seriously abstract, otherworld feel. Disaster Amnesiac has felt, while listening to 2, that I've intruded on some private, intense invocation. It just has that kind of weight about it. Vocalist Chuck Bettis joins the fray with his expressionist vocal techniques, sounding shamanistic and crazed with his glossolalia. Saxophonists Darius Jones and Sam Hilmer add No Wave melting tones and furious bleats, but also keeps that kindled, spacious vibe going within this 21st Century Kabuki. Listening to 2, one may feel as is they are returning to some primordial cave. Intriguing wall drawings are indeed scrawled there. - Mark Pino

(KFJC) This is a stunningly different sound featuring guitars, saxes, drums, electronics and vocals. There is quiet strumming on a de-tuned guitar a bit reminiscent of Bill Orcutt. Other tracks feature maniacal screams and sometimes fast, sometimes glacial paced drums that suggest death metal. Track 5 is the most extreme – utter cacophony. Saw a review that called it “free death jazz” – that sort of nails it. Funny thing is, it disturbs and is an enjoyable listen at the same time. - Cousin Mary

(Tiny Mix Tapes) Hey there, friend. Do you know PERIOD? No, no, not the punctuation mark, you dummy. If I was talking about the punctuation mark would I have intentionally caps-locked my way through the word up there? I’m talking about the improv/experimental/maybe-sort-of-metal-sometimes-but-other-times-not-really band featuring Charlie Looker, Chuck Bettis, and Mike Pride. Somebody once described them as sounding like Derek Bailey covering the Melvins, so, yes, confirmed, they sound like my dreams coming true. Hows about I list some of the members’ side projects to, I don’t know, jog your memory? Well, Looker’s used to be in a little group called ZS, and he also headed up Extra Life. Now he’s currently all about that Seaven Teares life and that Psalm Zero life. Bettis is primarily associated with his work in the improv duo Mossenek, as well as the bonkers sonic assault of Brown Wing Overdrive. Pride leads From Bacteria to Boys as well as Drummer’s Corpse, and he’s collaborated with a whole bunch of folks who will probably make you say, “Oh neat!” like, for example, Nels Cline, Keiji Haino, Matana Roberts, and Otomo Yoshihide. Okay, with all that listing out of the way, we can get to what my youth pastor used to called the “real spiritual meat” of this here Choco post. You see, many moons (read: 8 years) ago, PERIOD put out their debut album PERIOD, and that shit sold out almost immediately (as of right now, though, you can grab a digital version of it off of Mike Pride’s Bandcamp). So naturally, the guys in PERIOD were like, “Let’s wait eight years and put out another record.” And now, thanks to the kindness of Public Eyesore Records, that new new PERIOD record is finally here. It’s called PERIOD 2 because yes, I agree, making up titles for things sucks. Right now we’ve got an extra special premiere of “Four” from the album going on below. “Four” is the second track on PERIOD 2, which is sort of like how Ben Folds Five only had three people in it. Anyhow, “Four,” is an exercise in riding that Painkiller-ish line between metal sonics and free improv. Consisting quite simply of Pride’s wall of drums, Looker’s almost-chiming baritone guitar, and Bettis’ wailing reverbed-out vocals, the thing sounds nevertheless massive, pummeling. I want to attribute a substantial chunk of this specifically to Mike Pride, who manages to wring out a surprising range of dynamics and textures, even when playing comparatively traditional parts like the blast beats early in the song’s nearly 12-minute length. Bettis and Looker, too, sound totally jacked in to what Pride is doing, smart enough to lay out when they need to, and carefully just those frequency and timbre ranges left untouched by Pride, springboarding the whole thing up in to the upper atmosphere. - Taylor Peters

(Free Jazz Blog) Period really facilitate the music scribe’s task of finding a good starting point, since the impressive musical credentials of everyone involved provide a more or less self-evident jumping-off point. Formed a couple of years ago by ubiquitous drummer Mike Pride and guitarist Charlie Looker (formerly of Extra Life, a band that is more or less unclassifiable but very highly recommended), Period have become a more band-like proposition over time, as vocalist Chuck Bettis (formerly of noisy punks The Meta-Matics and Tzadik recording artists Brown Wing Overdrive) has joined them. On this new album – yes, it’s the second one –, the trio is expanded into a quintet with the sometimes addition of Sam Hillmer on tenor sax and Darius Jones on alto saxophone, both of which have an impressive pedigree of their own: Hillmer as the bandleader and sole constant member of Zs (also unclassifiable – although “chamber-rock” might give you a pretty good idea – and very highly recommended), Jones as both a sideman – for William Hooker, among others – and as a composer with the noise-jazz group Little Women (do I need to mention that they’re highly recommended?). So, yes, this is a super-group of sorts, and if I had to judge this album on past achievements alone, I’d award five stars and be done with it. Indeed, in terms of musical style, 2 has the fingerprints of Period’s members all over it, with an overall approach that draws on various avant-jazz and avant-rock sub-genres also mined in the better-known projects of the five musicians. On top of that, there’s a distinct punk/metal feel present in many of the album’s tracks. Alas, the considerable talent behind this record isn’t always translated into the expected greatness. Opening track Two is a case in point in this respect; it sees Looker (on baritone guitar) and Pride improvising without assistance from the other members. For almost 17 minutes, they’re propelled by a stoic, pummeling beat – the sort of beat Swans have built almost their entire career on – with Looker injecting his trademark “ice-pick” riffs and Pride indulging in hyperactive fills. Since this is basically an improv project with different premises, it may seem a bit unfair to compare this to Looker’s old band, but at the same time, it’s hard not to – the similarities are there. While quite powerful, it ends up sounding more like a sketch of an as yet unreleased Extra Life song than genuine improvisation. Period fares better when Jones and Hillmer provide back-up. On album highlight Nine – which is actually the fourth, not the ninth track – they help steer the band into a more unhinged avant-jazz direction by adding ear-splitting dissonance and employing some extended techniques. Alongside Bettis’ creepy howls and growls, this adds up to a monstrous track that recalls Painkiller in its bludgeoning intensity and metal experimentalists Kayo Dot in its scope. In general, intensity is the album’s main redeeming quality; at times, it makes critique of the record’s flaws seem almost ridiculous. Still, the band is seemingly at a crossroads, caught between a tendency towards constructing (quasi-)songs and an inclination to reckless improvising. All told, it’s a good, if somewhat flawed record and hopefully a harbinger of great things to come. - Julian Eidenberger

(Invisible Oranges) Charlie Looker (guitars) and Mark Pride (drums & percussion) are veterans of numerous collaborations. Their project Period, released a self-titled album back in 2006, and now make a return with its unique blend of experimental metal, prog/art rock, jazz and acoustic elements. With the help of three excellent musicians in Chuck Bettis (vocals & electronics,) Darius Jones (alto sax) and Sam Hillmer (tenor sax) as well as producer Colin Marston, they exploit their technical abilities to a new level. The album itself starts off with a distinct experimental metal sense, bringing to mind the works of Dysrhythmia, with the constant pushing and pulling of rhythmic structures and the weight of their heavy riffs. This is not the sole direction that the band undertakes. More aggressive moments moving head on towards death metal, as “Four” and “Six” reveal Bettis’ full capabilities on causing havoc, with his extreme voice over the heavy jazz-influenced instrumentation, bringing to mind the works of Atheist. Complete with smooth jazz improvs, acoustic guitar and hypnotic sax input, caustic chaos with complex rhythm structures alongside drone elements. 2 is a melting pot. - Spyros Stasis

(Moosick) A group involving the likes of Charlie Looker and Chuck Bettis, this is one I have had my eye on. Their quite obviously second release now opening with an almost free-jazz esqe drumming to minor 2nd chords played up and down the neck by Looker. As the drums begin to swell the guitar picks up with a more structured set of riffs, cymbals beginning to lightly follow forming an outfit more apposite to rock. This sort of mixed bag intro was tried when Steve Noble collaborated with Stephen O'Malley and I was quite ambivalent then. Mike Pride provides the drums on this (notably working with Boredoms) and he certainly has a sense of appropriate timing. And that, as well as the very idiosyncratic style Looker has, is what stops it sounding like your usual bedroom jam between-noise heads. Because the occasional pick-up of structure and coherence is teased but never totally established in the longer tracks. Ten minutes and they don't wear their welcome but it disappears without any sort of fade out or goodbye. Meandering too much. Following are screamed, moaned and whooped vocals over a very awkwardly timed riff and complementary drums, all now in time. Something of a dichotomy but the lax nature of the album opener gives a nice contextual nudge to the album. Your typical development on the riff occurs. Processed vocals become more atmospheric, weaving in and out of the now slowed guitar and drum punctuations; which is very much what these drums seem to be, at times. Punctuation marks rather than the text itself. Each track seems to bring in a new instrument. A saxophone comes into Ten (the third track - one would assume these were the works chosen to be put into the final album rather than an arbitrary series of numbers thrown around) and it starts to sound like a faster Ensemble Pearl mixed with John Zorn. Charlie needs to learn to play in a different style, that's for sure. There's having your own playing style and there's nailing and riveting yourself to it, refusing to budge and accommodating solely by working with other musicians. Sunn O))) are comparable in this sense in that without other collaborators they'd be in a lot of trouble right now. Saying that, there are a few moments where he will utilise simple muted strikes and very mellow feedback in conjunction with other instruments, forming an industrial mess of sound that really cheers me up. But then it's back to Extra Life/Psalm Zero/Time Of Orchids/every other project he's ever been involved in samey samey riffy GOD. Onkyokei - a movement which utilizes silence in conjunction with timbre and texture to create sound studies - is probably an influence what with the aforementioned punctuation sometimes taking a more structured, subtle approach such as quiet parp of a horn surrounded by nothing else but ambient sound. And then a while later a crash into a more rock-style composition. A classical guitar even pops out and your usual structure-to-free improv fades through once again. The only reason this doesn't wear is because of the introduction of different techniques and instruments. So why am I being so harsh on this? Well, I'm not entirely sure. Despite everything I've just said this is one of the best works Charlie's been involved in and despite it being a total cluster-fricative it's certainly not fair to level that criticism at it because that's actually what I like about it. Sure, the guitar playing is nothing new, the sax is nothing new, the drums are nothing new (are you seeing a pattern here?) but collectively every single musician has their own distinct sound that I actually feel somewhat connected to on a more personal level. I can feel these musicians. I can feel their distinct influences and styles merge into what is less an amalgamation of people into band or name but a circle of them sitting talking among one another a a collective. There is an understanding between them which is much more segregative than in other collaborations I've heard. And it works. I don't do numerical ratings because I'm here to criticise/give my pompous opinion, not let it get summed up in a reductive number. So let me say that anyone who's a fan of either of the main duo, free jazz, experimental rock, or saxophones in general will like this, and that if I'm giving it a cruel final summation, it's certainly above average. - Cal Caley

(Monk Mink Pink Punk) Period, a duo of guitarist Charlie Looker and drummer Mike Pride, plays an extreme and abstract form of heavy metal music with guest vocalists and saxophonists. The drumming’s intense barrage propels the music rather than just anchoring it. Chuck Bettis’ tortured screamings come from some sort of metal sub-genre. On the three tracks where the saxophones make an appearance, all alongside the vocals, add squeals, smacking sounds and outbursts that accompany the vocals. There are places where the music slows down, loosing its propulsive forward momentum, hanging in the air. This is a weird record. Pride’s artwork perfectly represents the smashed together attitude of the music. - Josh Ronsen

(Le Son Du Grisli) A deux, Charlie Looker (guitare) et Mike Pride (batterie) ne font pas dans la dentelle. Arpèges malfaisants, fracas de toms : le venin est cajolé, le son est fracassé. Avec Chuck Bettis (voix), Looker et Pride font du Naked City (presque) plus vrai que nature. Avec Darius Jones (sax alto) et Sam Hillmer (sax ténor), Looker et Pride confirment le chaos. Laissent se noyer les saxophonistes dans la cuve à mazout, affirmant ainsi leur sens vicié du partage (que le plus sonique gagne !). Puis, avec l’altiste et, plus loin encore, avec le vocaliste, contemplent les débris et les chants de ruines. S’en voudraient presque de leurs méfaits. Maintenant, semblent vouloir (re)construire. Mirage ou malice ? - Luv Bouquet

(SLUG) Period = Boredoms + Dead C + Harry Pussy. Made up of members of the legendary NYC noise group Zs, this basically unGoogleable album is a behemoth of a noise-rock record that dips into warped speed metal, improvised everything that spews blastbeats, Spartan breakdowns (I mean breakdowns in every sense of the word), free jazz horn-rock band explorations, tortured groans, grunts and honks from someone suffering from terrible hemorrhoids. This is everything a noise rock album should be. It is maddening, unlistenable at times, but mostly overpowering, cathartic and jaw-droopingly good when everyone’s improvised parts come together for a brief moment of cosmic bliss. Otherwise, its parts are just as strong as its whole. - Ryan Hall

(Improvijazzation Nation) Experimental improv for the hardcore listener… this isn’t for the weak ears among us… the seven pieces feautre long-time collaborators Charlie Looker – Baritone & Acoustic Guitar and Mike Pride – Drums & Percussion, with Chuck Bettis – Vocals & Electronics on 2, 3, 4, 5 & 7; Darius Jones – Alto Saxophone on 3, 4 & 6; Sam Hillmer – Tenor Saxophone on 3 & 4. This is best illustrated by the 11:32 “4“… TOTAL assault on your aural appendages… you’ll swear your player has been possessed & go looking for a sonic exorcist immediately! When you contrast that with the haunting vocals on “8”, you’ll know that this is solely intended for listeners who aren’t afraid to try something new. It was actually the sound craftsmanship on the 6:24 “Eleven” that got my vote for favorite, though… very cool guitar intro, with snatches of many other elements (especially the saxophone) woven in to provide the attentive listener with a very enjoyable and engaging piece. I give these gents a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98. - Rotcod Zzaj

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