U Totem

Strange Attractors

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Of all of James Grigsby's productions, whether it is with the Motor Totemist Guild or U Totem, Strange Attractors is the work he will be remembered for. This album, weaved on a complex story line jumping back and forth from 1957 to 1985 to 2012, contains some of the best music avant-prog had to offer in 1990s. The lineup for this album is mostly Sanjay Kumar (keyboards), David Kerman (drums), Eric Johnson (bassoon), Emily Hay (flute, singing), Steve Cade (guitar), and Grigsby (guitar, bass, computer, tapes), with a few guests. The music takes the complexity and symphonic side of Canterbury progressive rock and perverts it in a Henry Cow meets Art Zoyd kind of way, blending into it free improv and atonal classical music elements. Although very complex and hard to get into, Strange Attractors remains a rock record (unlike some of Motor Totemist Guild's later works). The playing is stellar, surprises abound, the more avant-gardist pieces ("Daikon Batake") being balanced by high-octane prog rock numbers ("No Mo Ippon"). "Ginger Tea" and "Another Ginger Tea" are two of the most accomplished pieces of progressive rock's most avant-gardist ensembles, turning this album into a classic.

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