Ron Anderson / PAK

Secret Curve

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The first in a series of New York-based PAK bands was formed in 2000 by guitarists Ron Anderson and Will Redmond, bassist Jesse Krakow, and drummer Race Age. PAK's first three albums, each of which involved multiple changes in personnel, generated comparisons with Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and Captain Beefheart. Secret Curve was released in early 2011 on John Zorn's Tzadik label. Anderson is featured here as composer and bass guitarist leading seven edgy improvisers including double-fisted pianist Anthony Coleman, prepared pianist Eve Risser, trumpeter Tim Byrnes, and multi-reed instrumentalist Stefan Zeniuk. Tom Swafford's violin, Keith Abrams' drumming, and Jerome Noetinger's use of electronics and tape manipulation help sustain a level of intensity comparable to that of Ronald Shannon Jackson & the Decoding Society in full swarm. There are also moments which recall Elliott Sharp's Carbon and the work of Zorn himself. The hard-hitting, relentlessly propulsive "Overture" and "Kempelen's Automaton" are recommended for expressway driving or small-scale demolition work. "Caffeine Static Rendezvous" would be ideal for playback at maximum volume while ripping up the kitchen floor or scraping paint chips off of wooden siding in direct sunlight. "Mama's Little Anarchist," on the other hand, is perfectly suited for dancing around stark naked after the work has either been completed or cheerfully abandoned.

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