Hans Reichel is a sheer delight. Shanghaied on Tor Road is the first attempt by Reichel since he developed the daxophone to use it in a unified context. The pieces here represent not so much a series of daxophone improvisations as they do a daxophone narrative, hence the name operetta. What Reichel has accomplished here is create a series of tonal situations for his daxophone and followed them percussively down the path of the most resistance via a sophisticated -- if humorous -- method of composition, microtonal exploration, and advanced percussive investigation. To say this music is tuneful is an understatement and does it a disservice, to call it funny in the best sense of the word is to do it a disservice, to say that it is innovative misses the point. What Reichel displays on Shanghaied on Tor Road is dax music developed to the highest standards possible at the present. These standards engage Western music and even employ it in places, but they also niche themselves in the context of improvisation, ingenuity, and dangerous creativity. In Reichel's post-guitar universe, melodic invention, harmonic construction, and modal exploration are merely elements for composition. This is a brilliant elucidation of the ideas of the most soulful cat in the entire avant-garde: listen, and be delighted.
Shanghaied on Tor Road: The World's 1st Operetta Performed... Review
by Thom Jurek