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March 2001

Resonance Impeders
At All Costs Unknown
CIMP Recordings

Not a pick-up band, the Impeders have recorded for CIMP once before. At All Costs Unknown, however, is a pick-up recording. A nearly 70-minute recording-and a long 70 at that-At All Costs suffers the kind of pitfalls that often trouble off-the-cuff and not terribly inspired free-improv studio dates approached with little (read: no) preparation. No pressing musical ideas stretch the longer tunes out to their considerable duration. Ambient passages (read: warm-ups in search of direction) and dead spots do-especially on "Say Then but the Two Gone" and "Ant Farming Cousin." Not to say that all the shorter cuts are especially tight either. And yes, all the tunes have dorky titles.

Perhaps the player of highest profile among the three, alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss (Sex Mob, Wayne Horvitz's Pig Pen) spends most of the recording trading in textures. In his better moments, Krauss adds another layer of rhythm to what is already a rhythm-oriented group, almost like a perverse Maceo Parker. Much of the time, however, Krauss leans on repeated phrases or long bouts of clucking and burbling without generating much interest.

The real reason to check out At All Costs is the rhythm section team of drummer Jay Rosen and bassist Chris Dahlgren. Dahlgren's subtly distorted bass and Rosen's inventive drumming drive this music and engineer its brighter moments.

Originally published in March 2001
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