Very few string quartets are immersed in the genre of Free Improvisation to the extent of the Emergency String Quartet, in which each member liberally improvises with an inspiring sophistication and finesse. The four tracks heard here also feature guest vocalist Carol Ganetti, and the collective results are one-of-a-kind. At times challengingly feisty and at others merely subversive, the quartet marshals strange sounds, twisted sonorities, and dissonant harmonies to produce something of lasting beauty, even if it is sometimes nightmarish in intensity and scope. Those who think of strings as sedate will be surprised not only by the range of sound but also by the extremely disturbing results. Ganetti, who is able to twist, distort, and squeeze previously undiscovered tones from her vocal chords, blends perfectly with the strings. This is prime fare for adventurous souls looking for new perspectives. There are no melodies, of course, and the nature of the music eschews background listening. Rather, it is to be savored and listened to closely. Frighteningly abstract while compellingly clamorous, the quartet produces something uniquely upsetting and cacophonous, celebrating weirdness, but also embracing the logical constructs of a different dimensional plane. Whether simulating the buzz of mosquitoes or shadowing and maiming traditional expectations, there is something for almost everyone, provided that conventional perspectives are left at the door.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy