009 - Abomination / Keep the Free State Litter Free

- Scott Larson & John Dierker - $3.00 - (45 minutes)



From: "Experimental Musical Instruments" Vol 13 #3

- March 1998 - us@


Scott Larson, abomination; John Dierker, tenor saxophone.

The "Abomination" is an assemblage of an electric guitar, electric bass, and drums (plus violin, radio, etc.) put together by Scott Larson, so that he could have the resources of an entire rock band under his personal "one-man band" control. The guitar and bass are usually played by "hammering on" the fingers on the fretboards, while the percussion is mostly played by a series of foot pedals. This results in some wonderfully spread out attacks - when Larson plays the guitar, bass and percussion in rhythmic unison, the basic characteristics of the three instruments, all with different attack characteristics, mean that the instruments are never really together. This gives the whole album its delightfully off center feeling. However, not all the polyrhythms here are non-intentional. In some sections, Larson's ability to sustain different rhythms on his three or more sound sources is truly impressive.

The first side of the cassette sontains five short solo pieces for Abomination, in which Larson displays virtuosity, imagination and funk. Some of the sounds he draws from his guitar, such as the liquid sound in the middle of track 3, "The police stayed for an hour and a half," and the scratchy texture in track 5, "Plan 9," are just wonderful. His ability to switch timbres and textures rapidly shows off both the potential of the instrument, and his own continually creative musicality. On side 2 of the cassette, he's joined by tenor sax player John Dierker. The mood here progresses from a basic rock beginning through a wide range of styles and references, centering mostly on imaginative extensions of the interplay present between John Coltrane and Elvin Jones in Coltrane's late recordings. In fact, much of this side suggested to me a direction jazz might have gone after Coltrane, if it hadn't retreated into its current mainstream, retro direction. A track like "AM Ascension" is both gentle and complex - Dierker's sax playing makes Larson play a bit more sparsely, and stick with one texture just a little bit longer. The two musicians are clearly engaged here in listening and interplay, even if their musical materials are substantially different. And the sudden transitions Larson makes from, say, percussion to bass is all the more impressive in that it's the product of one person. A most impressive cassette - when are these guys going to make a CD?

- Warren Burt


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The reviews are not necessarily copied verbatim from the original. Usually, small apparent typos are corrected & obsolete addresses are removed. In some cases, I may choose to leave misspellings, misinformation, etc intact to demonstrate how sloppy the reviewer is. Of course, there may be times when the original packaging was confusing (deliberately or otherwise) which may effect the reviewer's comprehension. The more recent the tapes are, the less likely this is to be the case. Most of the recent tapes provide fairly extensive liner notes. In some cases, reviewers whose native language isn't English may be writing in English anyway for the sake of 'internationalizing' their reviews. Obviously, this may lead to what strikes native English speakers as 'bad' English. Hopefully, equally obviously, this should not be interpreted as a lack of intelligence in the writing. Editorial notes may be inserted into the reviews in [brackets]. In many instances, I (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE) replied to reviews that I disagreed with strongly. These replies are included here. In some cases, I may add additional retrospective comments.