Rudolph Grey

Mask of Light

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After Sonny Sharrock's pioneering work in the late '60s, few electric guitarists attempted to mine the "ecstatic jazz" vein, by which is meant the sort of music featured on the BYG and Shandar labels of the time, and which re-blossomed in the late '80s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A veteran of the punk/noise scene (The Blue Humans), Rudolph Grey was one of the first guitarists to attempt to fill this void. Mask of Light contains three long tracks, all of which include John Coltrane alumnus Rashied Ali on drums, in addition to the participation of saxophonist Jim Sauter, and fellow noise guitarist Alan Licht. The title track is a battle royal with Ali in robust form and Grey screeching for all he's worth. Sauter, a longtime member of Borbetomagus (a group not particularly noted for subtlety), bellows and screams alongside the duo in a free improvisation that, if it doesn't come close to Interstellar Space standards, still generates a head of steam. "Implosion -- 73," a duet with Ali, and "Flaming Angels," with all four members, essentially cover the same territory: free form, often meandering, occasionally explosive, but lacking the soul that made music like Sharrock's so magical.

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