Henry Kaiser

Outside Pleasure

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The adventurous guitarist's first solo album finds him very much in the territory first staked out by Derek Bailey and Fred Frith. He takes a jagged, relatively harsh and brutal approach on many of these pieces, mitigated somewhat by the faint influence of the music of Captain Beefheart, specifically the various guitarists employed in that band. This underlying affinity to rock (albeit in one of its more extreme incarnations) gives the pieces, all freely improvised, a sense of structure and forward momentum that similar explorations by younger improvisers often lack. On "The Farmer in Heaven," for instance, the stuttering, whipsaw action creates its own sense of drama by implying a rhythmic drive that's almost not really there. Kaiser forays into some standard avant-garde techniques, including wails of feedback and the introduction of found radio broadcasts, but with none of the subtlety of a Keith Rowe. Oddly, he's more compelling the straighter he plays, an aspect of his work that would generally continue throughout his career. On "Information Mechanics" he again uses a slashing technique that sounds like advanced Zoot Horn Rollo to good effect and its closing, fuzz-drenched section would put many a hard rock guitarist to shame. The original LP was combined with his Aloha and issued on CD by Dexter's Cigar in 1996, though it, as well as the original, may be hard to come by. Outside Pleasure, though, is worth picking up on its own and its seminal nature makes it a must for Kaiser fans.

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