Eugene Chadbourne

Horror, Pt. 7: The Post Day of the Dead Ritual

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House of Chadula's best release in the Horror series since Horror, Pt. 2: Banned, this album documents an often-played but never-recorded "process piece" by Eugene Chadbourne. Actually a suite of instructions and settings for improvisers, "The Post Day of the Dead Ritual" crept into the set list of the Chadbourne Baptist Church in the late '80s and has been a regular feature whenever the good Doctor gigs with a stable group (Zu, the Malachy Papers, or in the case of these recordings, Camper Van Beethoven and Ut Gret). Each part has a gruesome title like "Hand of Death" or "Walking Death" and assigns playing or behavior instructions to the players -- for instance, in "Concept of Death" the musicians are instructed to "play as if dead...If you find yourself thinking, stop." Some sections are minimalist and stark, but most of the album is high-octane structured improv with some infectious grooves. Most of the music is taken from a 2003 concert with Ut Gret: Gary Pahler (percussion), Greg Acker (flute/sax), Steve Good (clarinet/sax), Steve Roberts (keys), Joee Conroy (cello/bass). The sound has been mastered rather low but is rich in details. Highlights from this performance include a "Rhythm of Death" seguing into a reading of Mingus' "Fables of Faubus" and the section "All Dead Jazz and Pop Band," where each member of the group had to choose a song to cover. About one third of the disc is taken from an early-'90s concert by Camper Van Chadbourne: Walter Malli (sax), Graham Connah (keys), Victor Krummenacher (bass), Jonathan Segel (violin), and Chris Pedersen (drums). The sound quality is slightly weaker but still quite listenable, and the performance is truculent. Abrupt edits tend to tear the suite to pieces, but one gets a good idea of the richness of Chadbourne's stage script and an hour's worth of warped rock, jazz, and improv.

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