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December 2005

John Carey
Undefined Psych-Chromatic G.R.I.D.
Planet Bass NYC

Bass virtuoso John Carey calls his music "organized chaos" in the CD liner notes, and this live date ventures outside about as far as anything that's come my way in recent memory. Indeed, benchmarks commonly used to evaluate improvisational sessions don't apply here since Carey and his crew are more concerned with a sonically unpredictable dialog than group interaction, or producing compositions weaving individual statements into a unified framework.

Yet despite what seems like musical warfare, there are numerous moments of beauty and depth that occur within this frenzy. Besides Carey, guitarist Oz Noy, cellist Dave Eggar, drummer Frank Bellucci and vocalist/percussionist/accordion soloist Rachelle Garniez also shift into and out of the process. Because everything is totally improvised, there's no way to predict what's coming next as these songs unfold. The numbers "Plateau," "Preconception" and "Reconstruction" are quite fluid, while the concluding "Evolution and Telos Goal" prove even more choppy and intense.

This is one recording session that dearly needs to be on DVD, because seeing it would probably be more informative and instructive than hearing it. But on the basis of the recorded evidence, this concert was quite a departure from the norm, something that's alternately gripping and perplexing.

Originally published in December 2005
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