This first Selfhaters recording includes selections spanning December 1993 through March 1996. Most of these cuts are live performances at NYC venues Roulette and Knitting Factory. Documented are two Anthony Coleman-led lineups: clarinetist Doug Wieselman and percussionist Jim Pugliese are the Selfhaters (clarinetist David Krakauer guests); the other half of the tracks add cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and reedist Michael Attias to form the orchestra. The album opens with energetic bursts of warbling, dissonant blares, and simple, loose snare beats that taper out, then return with renewed fervor, the decision made that "yes, this is how we want to rock." Offsetting this, the next piece is rather quiet and secretive. Generally sounding more like a drunken choir, this instrumental group gets almost bluesy in a klezmer/avant-jazz kind of way. Coleman fans will dig it, as he has some fine organ moments throughout. The selections are, overall, more scattered, like threads tied at one end to a musical idea that are dispersed and floating in all directions, swirling around Coleman's playing. The album closes with a drawn-out, wryly delivered narration accompanied by interpretive music of an indecisive, rather ragtag parade.
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne