Nmperign's first effort sees the group developing the extended-technique effects, and the forms they would mold them into, that they would explore more completely on their later albums. 44'38"/5 is the only Nmperign record that features percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani as a member of the group. At first glance, his presence makes sense: he plays quietly and sensitively, and he's interested in using sounds that most percussionists wouldn't even consider. Still, most of the sounds he uses, like most sounds made by drummers of any stripe, are short and accented, and the frequent accents interrupt the strange and beautiful sustained sounds made by the other members of the group. Trumpeter Greg Kelley and saxophonist Bhob Rainey often play the sorts of long groans, squeals and growls they would refine on their later records. But they also often interact in a (relatively) standard free improv style, with Rainey wobbling in between pitches like his former teacher Joe Maneri. Although 44'38"/5 is a fine record in its own right, it finds the group in the midst of a transition.
AllMusic Review by Charlie Wilmoth