Bag of Cats was the maiden release of a projected bi-monthly magazine, Spiral. Although it was envisioned to include artists as diverse as John Cage and Brion Gysin, the only two issues were both devoted to the music and writing of Andrew McKenzie and the Hafler Trio. Bag of Cats includes a number of shorter works collected from the late '80s. "Kuklos" is also a reworking of a longer piece of the same name, which was originally issued on cassette and which accompanied a gallery presentation by graphic designer Neville Brody. This version, with layers of noise and reverberation, includes recordings made at the exhibition, functioning as a short after-the-fact commentary on the project. "Crucible" is an early experiment in sexual energy that would be continued in pieces like Masturbatorium, and also includes a lecture fragment at the end. The longest piece on the disk, "Mesne," starts with fragments of pre-recorded music, and gets very quiet before a big closing burst of energy. Bag of Cats is most interesting for an alternative version of the seminal Hafler Trio work Alternation, Perception and Resistance, a comprehension exercise centered around a seminal reading about direct perception. The lecture was sampled on the earlier release Seven Hours Sleep and presented in a longer version on Walk Gently Through the Gates of Joy, but the entire reading, along with printed text, is in the accompanying booklet. This piece gives an excellent and relatively clear exposition of the ideas behind the Hafler Trio's sound works in the late '80s.
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AllMusic Review by Caleb Deupree