Open City collects outtakes and rehearsal recordings from most of the Muffins' career. The sound quality is usually good to very good and, considering how very little music this exciting band had the chance to release through official channels, every unreleased bit counts. And most of these tracks contain valuable musical pleasure both for the seasoned fan and the newcomer. The first seven pieces were captured at a rehearsal. They would all end up on the band's last LP 185 with many studio tweakings. Here they are presented live -- proof that the band was able to play them "for real." The next two tracks are outtakes from Fred Frith's Gravity sessions where the Muffins served as backing band. "Blind Arch" is a live improvisation, while "Expected Freedom" is an unreleased track from the Manna/Mirage sessions. The last three tracks were recorded for a radio show. These are not half-baked songs, but show the Muffins in top musical shape. For example, the 14-minute "Not Alone" was one of their oldest compositions, a tune in the style of the material found on Manna/Mirage, but was never recorded. Fans of complex Canterbury-style prog fusion will find Open City very much worthwhile.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture