Bob Ostertag

Like a Melody, No Bitterness: Solo, Vol. 1

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"Like a Melody, No Bitterness" is a continuous piece of 41 minutes. It has been indexed in nine movements on the CD for convenience only. The subtitle "Solo Volume One" would tend to indicate this is Bob Ostertag's first solo CD but such is not the case. Previous albums such as Sooner or Later and Burns Like Fire were also solo opuses; of course, playing samples, Ostertag often "works" with someone else to some extent. This piece was recorded in Australia in 1997. The source material used comes from about everything/everyone the man played with during the preceding six or seven years, including samples of Fred Frith and John Zorn. Most samples are rendered unrecognizable through extensive manipulation. Layer upon layer of sound activity is exposed, culminating in a orgiastic overload in part eight. Although Ostertag shows some nice invention and definite mastery of his art, the piece lacks direction. This aural assault is not one of the man's best works, but there are worthy moments; during the last part especially, when a techno beat enters against a sped-up voice, the piece becomes something of a warped variation on Ostertag's PantyChrist project. The delicate opening of the piece is also a strong moment. Like a Melody, No Bitterness makes a nice addition to the fan's collection, but newcomers should begin with a stronger album (like Say No More or Attention Span).

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