Judith Ren-Lay

Out of Nowhere

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Part vocal improviser, part electronic musician, and part performance artist, Judith Ren-Lay makes an eerie impression on her Knitting Factory debut. Her most compelling idea is the multi-layered, hyperspeed vocal effect heard during "On the Table," "Big Baby," and "Needy We" -- the musical equivalent of time-lapse cinematography. But she spends more time with atmospheric drones, wails, processed vocal sounds, and evocative poetry (largely indecipherable, even with the liner notes). Helping to create these esoteric sound sculptures are a number of notable, adventurous musicians: Allan Jaffe and Brett Heinz on guitar, Joe Gallant and Mark Helias on bass, Rufus Cappadocia on cello, and Ken Butler on "hybrid strings." Amid all the abstraction there are African and Eastern elements, and even a bit of faux-country at the end for comic relief.

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