Kevin Shea

Folktales, Vol. 3

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The third volume in Crouton Music's Folktales series is the strangest and widest ranging. As usual, the album takes the form of three 3" CDs packaged in a small four-panel jacket. Each disc is filled by a different artist. This round brings listeners Dan Warburton, Adam Sonderberg, and Kevin Shea. Warburton is better known for his writings as a music journalist than his music. Since Return of the New Thing in 1999, he has remained rather quiet on record. The piece "20012002" brings listeners up to date. It is a rapturing construction of microscopic gestures on violin and treated sound files. The most accomplished piece in the set, it sucks you in and doesn't let go, thanks to a beautiful sense of tension and balance, even at this level of reductionism. Adam Sonderberg is a young artist from Chicago. His piece "I Just Want to Make Sure That We Have the Context Correct Here" is a computer-based assemblage and the puzzler of this album. In three parts, it begins with hiss, lo-fi tones, and background noise. One-third in, it erupts into a manic free jazz drums solo, only to abruptly cut to a concluding section of vinyl surface noise. Provocation aside, the intention remains unclear. Storm & Stress' Kevin Shea gives beat poetry a new twist: "Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires" features him soloing on drums while reciting socially conscious poetry. A synthesizer epilogue provides an interesting, softer touch. Comparisons to William Hooker and Lee Ranaldo's duo albums immediately spring to mind, even though Shea is by no means an imitator. Your appreciation of this volume will depend on the extension of your interests. By itself, packing these three tracks together is thought-provoking.

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