Koi/Klops collects performances from three concerts of the Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble held between December 2000 and April 2001 with three different lineups. Fine is mainly heard on his drum kit made of found objects and lo-fi electronics (the m-drums II), but he also plays piano, clarinet, violin, and celeste. The only other musician to contribute to all tracks is guitarist Steve Gnitka. This duet makes up the whole "ensemble" for the first two pieces. Keyboardist Jason Shapiro and bassist/guitarist/clarinetist Nathan Smith join them for the next two numbers, while the last track is a trio of Fine, Gnitka, and saxophonist Scott Newell. Fine's group has been compared to John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and this recording brings more evidence of the similarity. But the music on Koi/Klops is generally less self-absorbed and more lively, akin to a session by the trio of Evan Parker, Barry Guy, and Paul Lytton for example (the latter's kit also includes junk metal). That is to say the music is not all ultra-abstract, sparse, and quiet; neither is it entirely a high-energy contest. The quartet pieces are especially nice and include many changes in instrumentation. Shapiro's use of a synthesizer is refreshing and absolutely relevant -- this instrument is often perceived as a heresy in free improv circles.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture