Seven Reasons for Tears

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It's very difficult to decide which part of this package to enjoy more: Borbetomagus in one of their last recorded incarnations as a quartet with bassist Adam Nodfelman, or the inner sleeve's liner note review by Borbeto fan club pres. and esteemed outsider music critic Byron Coley. Both have the freewheeling intensity to take you not only by surprise, but assault your senses without mercy for 40 minutes or so. But perhaps it's the combination that makes this package more than appealing, necessary even. Seriously, though, with all due respect to Coley, Borbetomagus' seven pieces here are so over the top in terms of noise improv that there is scarcely anyone in their league -- and perhaps that is why they are so obscure. The overtonal sonances and found harmonics that are discovered and put through the ringer here by saxophonists Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich, and guitar skronk whiz Donald Miller, are unlike anything heard on disc before -- including the band's own recordings. When placed in contrast to the thermo sub spinal bass attack of Nodelman, the walls begin to fall in a row -- and violently. This is not pretty music, but it is beautiful, gorgeous even. Its density is so complete and its delightful chaos so utterly free of any notion of convention -- even those of the avant-garde -- that they exist outside musical speech at all. Here Borbetomagus may assault the listener as they always do, but they do so on such a neural wavelength that, once properly attuned, resistance is impossible. Truly this recording is an example of what Ornette Coleman calls "ugly beauty."

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