Daevid Allen / Nicoletta Stephanz

Live @ The Knit NYC (Bananamoon Obscura, Vol. 6)

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Volume six in Voiceprint Bananamoon Obscura series of archival Daevid Allen material presents the first meeting between Gong's glissando guitar guru and theremin player Nicoletta Stephanz, (aka Coven of One, once of Black Chamber and Legendary Pink Dots). The sleeve discloses very little detail about this performance held at the Knitting Factory in New York, but an educated guess would place it in 2000 or 2001. Despite the fact that Allen comes from the psychedelic rock/new age scene and Stephanz hails from a post-industrial current, their collaboration is surprisingly sensitive and efficient -- the glissando guitar and theremin complete each other very well. Of course, this also means that most of the performance belongs to the quieter side of Allen's output: extended drones, poetry, vocal experiments. The two musicians engage each other only in some tracks. The set opens with a solo glissando improvisation, full of loops and reverb. Then follows a multi-tracked vocal piece by Stephanz, which perfectly answers the mood previously established by Allen. "False Teacher" is also performed by the guitarist (the first one being a regular inclusion in his live sets at the time), while "Defenestrating Frogs" showcases Stephanz' dark side, with wailing theremins, rumbling textures and gloomy vocals. "Your Book of Silences" and "Journey Into Divine Vagina" are the two main duets of the set and the foundation of what would become an occasional collaboration (Stephanz's theremin work would be featured on University of Errors' third CD, ugly.music.4.monica). The latter track is especially nice, Nic's vocals enhancing the disquieting factor in Allen's playing. Sound quality on this recording is good, but no more. It seems to be an audience recording, with some overloading in the louder sections (Stephanz' looped vocals, in particular, tend to come out pureed). A nice curiosity.

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