After the slightly disappointing Black Cherry Acid Lab (if only because it was too short), David Fiuczynski quickly came back with this impressive collaboration with electric cellist Rufus Cappadocia. The album also features contributions from percussionist and drummers Daniel Sadownick, Gene Lake and Ralph Tobias, plus clarinetist Matt Darriau and singer Lian Amber. You'd think that the mean, twangy guitar riffs and solos of "The Fuze" would eat a cello alive, but please understand that Cappadocia's playing usually comes much closer to fretless bass than anything close to an acoustic cello -- he's more Tony Levin than Yo-Yo Ma! The set kicks off with "Mektoub": after an introduction featuring the cellist playing arco (one of the rare moments on Kif where one can identify the instrument for what it truly is), the piece builds up to one of Fiuczynski's trademark slow-tempo funk moods. The guitar lines hint at North-African scales, while Sadownick's percussion work enhances the Moroccan feel. Each track provides a setting for the duo to explore exotic sonorities -- titles likes "Phrygianade," "Chinese GoGo" and "Purple Vishnu" are self-explanatory. At times it almost feels like a recipe, but Fiuczynski's creative soloing -- and the fact that he has been using twangy Middle-Eastern and Far-Eastern-like melodies long before this album -- makes it work. And you never know when an innocent-sounding Klezmer melody will turn into a monster hard rock riff. "Prayer for My Father," slow and emotional, provides a highlight. "Gaida," co-penned with Matt Darriau, who also plays clarinet in it, is another stand-out.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture