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Show Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Show is Donkey's second CD, although Hans Fjellestad (keyboards, electronics) and Damon Holzborn (guitars, electronics) also released an album under their own names. This disc gathers excerpts from various live performances in late 1999 and early 2000. The sound quality is fairly good. Free improvisation meets noise/sound art to create hybrid avant-garde music that has much to do with live electronics and very little with Fjellestad's music as a composer (like his CD Red Sauce Baby) or even the Trummerflora Collective's longwinded improvised trips (both musicians belong to this ensemble). Most of the time the music on Show remains focused, highly textural, organic, and fascinating. Turntablist Marcus B sits in on "Clementine," a deceptively short and uninvolved piece. The other guest is Matt Ingalis playing clarinet and violin on two tracks with better results. The album peaks with "Salon," a very strong and sustained 12 minutes that changes direction very coherently a couple of times. Although it was not recorded at the same concert, the next track, "Single Hitch Pleasure Ride," seems to pick up right where the other one left off, pushing things even further into the electronic realm, getting very close to the laptop art of Jim O'Rourke and Fennesz. This is followed by the atmospheric "Barrel Filler" -- quite a contrast, but it actually works, thanks to a lot of ideas and honesty in their processing. That may be this CD's best quality. Recommended.

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