This live set with his Sound Ensemble features several compositions and approaches that Roscoe Mitchell explored with some regularity in the late '80s. The dervish-like, circular breathing on soprano sax that was a central element of the album The Flow of Things from the prior year is heard again on "Almost Like Raindrops," though with less ferocity. In fact, much of this recording has a surprisingly laid-back feel. "Nonaah," which is often performed in an agitated frenzy, is cast in a dreamlike, floating space. Even the usual "free blowout" pieces like "The Reverend Frank Wright" lack the propulsive cohesiveness that the same band has displayed before. Some of this may be due to the rather boom-y sound quality that often relegates Barefield's guitar work and Shahid's bass to the background while bringing the drums to the fore. The same holds true for the oddly similar "You Changed the Texture on Me" that follows directly; on the one hand, it's a pleasure to hear Mitchell's imaginative and forceful alto playing (as well as some fine work by trumpeter Ragin), but there is little sense of the group dynamics that were paramount on records like Snerdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes. The odd inclusion of two excerpted solos and what appear to be two snatches of longer group improvs also heighten the aura of disjuncture. Humdrum Mitchell is still more exciting than a lot of the better offerings from his peers though, so fans of his will still want to hear this album. It's just a little disappointing after fine efforts like the aforementioned The Flow of Things.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick