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Album Review

Raskin, Jon & Harryman, Carla – “Open Box” – [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2012   A Library, CD


Ping-pong poems across the country. Harryman serving
from Michigan, Raskin responding from our neck of the
national hydra. The title track split bilaterally like
a corpus callosum severed, conceived as one, but
executed as secret twins. It connects very well on
disk, in person I had to fight off the schizovisuals
(Raskin has a Felix-like catbag o’ tricks and toys).
He is the lynch pin, having opened and fallen into the
original “Open Box.” Raskin then used his reading to
trigger stellar solo support, budding building blocks.
There is a reason that Eli Crews draw pro-tools props
in the liner notes. This is a film that comes together
during editing, and falls open like an origami flower
under Harryman’s eye, pen and mouth. Dig her voice, and
her mind more. Quizzical but never perplexed. It helps
that Raskin boxed in some killer improvisitors, Liz
Allbee, Gino Robair, John?? Shiurba and Ava Mendoza
whose guitar riffs stalk the opening track like a
T-Rex in the book of genesis. Devilution? Carla’s words
look to abstraction, even when rooted in the physical,
the poem appears within the poem. Negation and absence
often provide foundation. Voices oft overlap. Harryman
and Raskin wanted to avoid the jazz-poem cliche tar pit,
and even without the instro Tuvan hum whistlestop to
weirdville “LA Reactive Meme”, I don’t think there was
ever any risk. Enjoy this spacious sagacious release.
-Thurston Hunger

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