The Abstractions are yet another project in which San Francisco multi-instrumentalist Ernesto Diaz-Infante is involved. He co-leads this quintet with saxophonist Rent Romus and brought along with him Scott R. Looney (here on percussion instead of electronics) and Bob Marsh (vibes and violin), both colleagues from the Left Coast Improv Group. But the question mark and what makes this CD stand out is the presence of Jesse Quattro, singer of the trash metal group Saint of Killers. An analogy could be established between the Abstractions and John Zorn's Naked City. They both perform short, raw improvisations packed with animal energy that don't exclude subtlety. Quattro's voice ranges from trashy shrieks to gibberish mumbling and microscopic vocal sounds. Diaz-Infante contributes guitar, piano, vocal ramblings of his own, and noise from a radio and broken CD player. Looney's junk percussion provides an extra layer of noise. Romus and Marsh often lock together to weave atonal melodies on top of it all. Recorded live in the studio, Sonic Conspiracy starts with a punch and ends in a sigh -- that is, it deflates in the last 15 minutes, although the dual saxophones and high-pitched notes from Quattro in "Sodium Pentathalon -- 400 Loads" are well worth sticking around for. But those who got hooked on the brutal outburst of the opening 36 seconds of "Outfuck" will wonder where the energy has gone by "The Oval Office." If you think Mike Patton should have never met Zorn, stay away. Otherwise proceed with caution, but please do proceed.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture