Recorded in 1988 by engineer Hahn Rowe, Fast Forward's percussion ensemble gives listeners six wildly varying slices of drum logic that cross tonal, timbral, and dynamic spheres in a stultifying combination of sonic inquiry. From tom-toms and conventional instruments like steel drums, gongs, cymbals, and roto-toms to cans, pans, hubcaps, bed springs, copper pipes, plastic, and whatnot, Fast Forward's ensemble is indeed a precursor to the illustrious Stomp in form and expression. From "The Dream State," where steel drums and huge choirs of tom-toms collide with bells, pipes, and cans, to "Machine Guns," where the frenetic rhythmic intensity is almost too much for the listener to bear, to the two-part closer "The Clincher," where skeins of polyrhythms lull, seduce, and ultimately hypnotize the listener into "being one with the rhythm" (but which one?...there are so many!), The Caffeine Effect is a wild ride into the nether land of the beat and what takes its pulse. This is a fascinating and maddening record -- and a necessary disc for anyone interested in modern rhythm ensembles.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek