Pseudo Buddha

3 Months in Fat City!

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Although Psuedo Buddha's 3 Months in Fat City! sounds like 65 minutes of a continuous performance, it was in fact recorded live to two-track at four live gigs in 2002, presumably on the dates that also serve as the four song titles ("September 6," "October 4," "November 1," and "November 14"). Those aren't so much four discrete compositions as they are instrumental group improvisations with common ground, a slow trance-like droning raga groove serving as the bed for no less than ten musicians to enter the proceedings. Most of them play more than one instrument, ranging from the everyday rock hardware to the outrageous, including a "Little Green Flute," sawblade, a "Squeaky-Gipper," tablas, a "Headless Dog Ocarina," and a "Mondo Ridiculoso Percussion Rig." There's a little poetic license for silliness in those credits, but the versatility of the ensemble is impressive. And the music (contrary to what you might suppose from the instrument credits) is actually rather sober, quasi-psychedelic meditation, with a bit of a threatening sense of witchcraft hovering overhead. There are plenty of such groups that use a constant, minimal melodic pulse as the launching pad for such explorations, and there's always a danger of lapsing quickly into monotony. So this isn't for those whose attention will wander in the absence of conventional songs, but as this kind of thing goes, it's above average. The range of instruments keeps it from getting dull, and there's a convincing drama in how the piece builds and strips away layers of tension. Exotica is added with the ghostly electronic sweeps, ominous foggy bleats of bass clarinet, and clinging percussion. In some ways it sounds like an update of the more ominous electronic passages of vintage European instrumental progressive rock, though Don Stewart's congas, bongos, and tabla add a more Indian/Eastern flavor than much such music has.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
13:11 Amazon
11:00 Amazon
32:09 Amazon
9:29 Amazon
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