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TRACK LIST: 1. September 6 13:11 2. October 4 11:00 3. November 1 32:09 4. November 14 9:29 All tracks: by Pseudo Buddha. LINE-UP: Bob Dog - lap steel guitar James Cobb - flutes, saxophones, & bass clarinet James Sidlo - baritone guitar John Cortez - fretted & fretless basses Don Stewart - varied percussion instruments Stephanie Key - clarinet & ocarina Joe Reyes - Oudcaster Gilly Gonzales - percussion Evinn - computer things & effects Evadrod - "Black Wilson" Produced by Pseudo Buddha. Recorded 'live'. Edited by Bob Dog.
Prolusion. Unfortunately, there is some other site under www.pseudobuddha.com, and the website of Dogfingers Records (see Related Links below) doesn't feature the discography of Pseudo Buddha. Nevertheless, "Three Months in Fat City" is to all appearances the fourth album by this Texas ensemble. According to the CD press kit, the album also marks the band's introduction of new homemade instruments, including the Oudcaster (see Line-up above). Related reviews can be read by clicking >here and >here.
Synopsis. "Three Months in Fat City" consists of the four long instrumental tracks titled with the dates they were performed at: September 6, October 4, November 1, and November 14. Of course, all these are live recordings. They have been edited in a studio, but feature no overdubs. In the result, the album sounds excellent, not unlike a full-fledged studio recording, and since there aren't pauses between compositions, all of which, moreover, are stylistically uniform, I perceive them as one monolithic work. Structurally however, the music is polymorphous. The clearly perceptible constituents are Space Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Turkic and North Indian Folk and Classical Music, South Indian Raga, Free Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, and some quantity of elements of Space Metal, though 'psychedelics' is usually the essential part of Space Rock. (When talking of Turkic music, which is different from Arabic and Indian ones not so distinctly as from the European one, I don't imply that performing in Turkey's conservatories etc, at least not only. This music is widespread among all the Turkic nations, and there are plenty of them in Asia, including Uzbeks.) Nevertheless, all that stylistic diversity keeps within the framework of Space Fusion or, to be more precise, a highly unique Eastern Space Fusion where the flavors of music of the East are practically throughout. The fluid-like structures with as if flying solos of lap steel and baritone guitars and some other instruments alternate with dense ones. The mysterious spacey (in the best sense of the term) atmospheres change by intensive, richly colored and very colorful arrangements evoking associations with an Eastern market-bazaar. However, the music always remains limpid, which, of course, by no means concerns the quick comprehension of it. I don't know how the Oudcaster and the other homemade instruments used on this recording look, but the album is filled with unique sounds, solos, and overtones: like those of Turkish Saz, Indian Sitar, Uzbek Rubob, and other string and wind instruments, familiar and completely indescribable. Apart from the parts of the aforementioned instruments and the acoustic guitar-like solos, there are lots of those of varied brass, woodwind, hand percussion and other instruments. The arrangements develop constantly without any repetitions of themes or returns to previously performed parts. In fact, there aren't, proper, themes nor anything confined by some compositional framework on this eclectic album. But while most of the solos here are of an improvisational nature, the music sounds like being thoroughly composed and arranged. There is no place for excessive eclectics and randomness on the album, and the overall musical palette of it looks very cohesive despite the constant changes of scenery. Indeed, listening to "Three Months in Fat City" is like a wonderful flight through amazing cosmic landscapes located somewhere between Rajastan and Saturn - regardless of how strange this would sound.
Conclusion. I am acquainted with many Space Fusion-related works, and there were brilliant among them, but this effort of Pseudo Buddha surpasses probably all of those I've heard before. Don't yield to complexity friends! You'll get into the album, as the music is not only highly intricate, but is also really intriguing and, besides, very imaginative. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best albums of 2003 I was fortunate to hear, so the change into the list of my favorite albums of the year is already made: >Top-20.
VM: January 19, 2004
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