Wherein composer/multi-instrumentalist Mitchell mixes and matches two of his regular working groups of the early '80s, the free-flowing and often funky Sound Ensemble and the more academic Space Ensemble. The first track, with the latter group, is Mitchell at his most arid and sterile, with vocalist Tom Buckner portentously intoning words that presumably roll off the tongue nicely, while two horns offer scattered background. Contrast that with the ensuing "You Wastin' My Time," a raucous, quasi-rap number (with Mitchell on vocals!) which is messy, all over the place, a little bit silly, but brimming with life. The Sound Ensemble, with Mike Mossman replacing original member Hugh Ragin, wends its way through two delicate improvisations and also launches into the grooving "Linefine Lyon Seven" with rich, funky lead lines, fine collective improv, and jaunty soloing. Unfortunately, the album ends with another lengthy track similar to the first, where preciousness overwhelms sensitivity, with the result being more a dry exercise than an organic whole. For serious Mitchell fans, this is worth having for the highlights; newcomers might find an easier "in" with the slightly earlier and utterly wonderful Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes on Nessa.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick