Michael Bloom / Ken Field / Tim Mungenast / Jon Proudman

No Such Animal

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On No Such Animal, guitarist Tim Mungenast breaks with his psychedelic pop past by recruiting saxman Ken Field (Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) and the rhythm section from Cul de Sac (Michael Bloom on bass and Jon Proudman on drums) for an album of completely improvised music, but this is no furious free-for-all blowing session. These guys are all excellent listeners, and take a completely cooperative approach to making music. The songs evolve slowly; it's nearly five minutes into "Debut Sea" before any real soloing starts and even then, there's never a hint of grandstanding. "The Iron Bell" is a sparse track with a very Asian use of silence and space featuring flute, Mungenast's prepared guitar, and Bloom's bass harmonics with Proudman leaving his kit in favor of a couple gongs. "Luminous/Ominous" has the rhythm section setting up an easy groove for Field's excellent flute and sax work, with Mungenast content to wait nearly eight minutes before really making his presence felt on a really nice solo with some interesting tapping work (which is closer to Frank Zappa than Eddie Van Halen). "Sitar-Tha" has Mungenast playing electric and slide sitar in conversation with Field's alto over a simple vamp that gets stretched and contracted. The album builds in intensity, culminating with "Mungulator Ritual," where Mungenast adopts one of the sickest, most deranged guitar tones imaginable with Field attempting to match him with a tart tone and multiphonics in front of a surging, insistent rhythm that recalls the end of "If 6 Was 9." It's an impressive set that has got to be one of the most egoless sessions ever recorded. Well done.

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