Various Artists

The RéR Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 1

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This issue of the irregular magazine RéR Quarterly came out in 1994. The CD (available with or without its printed counterpart) contains 75 minutes of music generally unavailable elsewhere. The scope of styles represented is very wide, thereby representing the interests of the ReR Megacorp/Recommended label. It takes wide ears and a solid stomach to switch from Cornelius Cardew's sweet-and-sour orchestral music to N.O.R.M.A.'s street band exuberance. In retrospect, this album is more important for the specific gems it presented to the public than for its overall listen. The tracks by Sales Combles (from the entourage of L'Ensemble Rayé), Diledadafish, and Koongoortoog (an avant rock group from Tuva fronted by a throat singer) are among the only documents left of these occulted projects. Other points of interest include an excellent live version of Thinking Plague's "How to Clean Squid," a rare example of the work of U.S. West Coast instrument builder Tom Nunn, a piece by Al Margolis that is very different from his electro-acoustic works released under the moniker If, Bwana, and a nine-minute extravaganza by N.O.R.M.A., much more festive than the music released on the group's sole ReR album, L'Arpe e l'Asino. Back in 1994, this CD was presenting an accurate snapshot of the developments in avant-garde music (mainly avant rock). Now it will appeal mostly to collectors.

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