Recorded live at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in May 1996, In the Land of Milk and Honey features trombonist Anne-Marie Roelofs' Waste Watchers trio, which also features Johannes Krämer (electric guitar, electronics, and tapes) and Dirk Marwedel (saxophones and toys). They performed three 20-minute improvisations structured in loose suites with written segments. The CD booklet includes a short story telling the tale of how three parrots, escaping from their slavery-like job at a city dump to find the Land of Milk and Honey, ended up gathering all the animals and starting a war against the human race. Each improvisation is divided into sections or movements with titles summarizing key episodes of the story. Yet, it seems the tale was written and fitted to the music instead of the other way around. In any case, these three pieces keep all their charm. Roelofs is touching when playing the violin (a nice passage in the third suite) and entertains with her trombone, using lots of mouth and mute tricks to mimic animal sounds. Add to this an array of small toys, samples of wildlife, and prerecorded bits of structured music, and you have a strange kind of storytelling technique. Whether the story came first or not, the music is a narrative in itself -- lively, creative in a Dutch way, and without any affectation. This music has the lightness of the Willem Breuker Kollektief, but runs deeper into sonic associations and free improvisation, blending jazz, pop, and electronics. Since Roelofs' work has been very sparsely documented, In the Land of Milk and Honey is the best place to start.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture