Monday, May 3, 2010

Gino Robair / Christopher Riggs - Punishment Allows the Evolution of Cooperation (Holy Cheever Church Records CS)

Riggs dropped his latest batch yesterday, which got me thinking about this little number again. I've been spinning it on near repeat for nigh a month now, but as so often happens with these kinds of tapes it gets stuck in my deck and without a review. Well here's a review, damn it.

Gino Robair is, I believe, the drummer for Schnuffler, whose tape on Holy Cheever got the review treatment a ways back. Beyond that though, dude's played with the likes of Anthony Braxton and Tom Waits, so right off the bat you know he's a heavy hitter. So this one really fits the bill as a meeting of the minds, cross pollination, generation Q merger of sorts, Riggs repping the new style hard while Robair brings a taste of class and history to the proceedings. Not that it matters at all of course once it gets down to the sounds... whole thing begins like some malnourished farmyard get down, chain link fence and corn huskers rattling away over the rooster caws. Really strange stuff that opens up into a slinky of textural gratings and percussive mishaps. Incredible how on the same tip these two are right from the jump off... not a single move sounds out of place. Robair even pulls of some Tietchens bloops and plops on his kit while Riggs saws gentle nocturnes into your cranium from behind. Restless stuff that sounds as process oriented as it does improvisational. Where are we in the continuum?!!

Halfway between the AMM types and Mimaroglu, that's where. Skittered acoustic textures that sound like circuitry gone wild in a basement gamelan setup while some throat singing yak herder thaws out his skins and sings a little tune. Just as gone as it is there, just as rich as it is bare. So great to see Robair and guys like Morris trading jabs with the younger crowd, as it signifies the life of what is too often considered a dying breed of improv. The whole beauty of it, it seems to me, is that there's an infinite variety of combinations due to the internal logic of the best's playing. So just mash em up and see where it goes. Thick bass dub over string cries? You got it. Droned out hyperbolic Himalayan artifacts? Sure. These tapes are going to be classics by the time Riggs is done with it, so if you're not on the bandwagon you best get there now. Get your kids through college easy... hell, if you're nice to him I bet he'll even sign it for you: To Johnny. Scriiiiiiiittttttttzzzzzzzzccccccchhhh. Best Wishes, Chris. Now there's an artifact...

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