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Album Review

Smith/Quintus/Quintus/Tadic/Nauseef – “Snakish ” – [Leo Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/20/2008   CD, Jazz

Something about this 2005 CD evokes the idea of cities beneath
cities. The live processing and prominent placement of Walter
Quintus’ computer generated sound fills this with a feeling
of future ruin. Wadada’s wandering trumpet oft discovers the
landscapes on each short track, weaving through tunnels and
beneath shadows of gongs and other synthesized percussion.
His skill is so profound, that the more muted Wadada plays,
the more expressive he is. Miroslav Tadic’s guitars blow
through…chords fall off trees…strings get rattled and
tapped. Around some corners, the beckoning or forewarning
voice of Katya Quintus calls. In German, in English, in
an effect-laden fog…words seem to be touchstones to
items maybe now lost in the world? Items now replaced by
generated sounds? She whispers of bells, swans and such.
In addition to live processing here, Mark Nauseef drops
in dapplings of percussion. This world has no beat to it,
but plenty of drumming. All five of the musicians here
were connected as Cal Arts staff at the time. The magic
touch of Wadada continues in its myriad ways, this album
could make a Coil fan as happy, as one who lionizes the
Leo label! Cities shed their skins, snakishly!

-Thurston Hunger

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