Album Review

Brazelton/Naphtali – “What Is It Like to Be a Bat? ” – [Tzadik Oracles]

Max Level   12/1/2006   A Library, CD

Tzadik’s ‘Oracles’ series features cutting-edge female composer/musicians doing some amazing stuff. On this release both of the artists sing, and they play, respectively, electric bass and electric guitar. Both add sampling and computer processing to the goings-on. ‘WIILTBAB?’ is actually the name of the band here, which includes a full-time drummer and a part-time guy doing live mixing and ‘filtering?. This CD consists of two 26-minute suites, Tracks 1-7 and Tracks 8-18, with everything running together within each suite. It may be hard to pull out individual tracks for radio play, but it’s worth a try; or, even better, give it up for an entire suite. ‘I’m partial to the way the 3-1/2 minutes of blustery noise in Track 6 leads into Track 7, a long, loud melange of slow jazz, overdriven guitars, big drones, romantic longing, and powerful operatic vocals. The material is twisted, complicated, and outrageous; maybe like a hard rock version of Shelley Hirsch?

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