Given the stellar line-up, one might reasonably hope for something earth-shattering in Thumb. If it's not quite that, it's still a fine, if annoyingly brief, example of cutting edge, electronic improvisation. Although one can tell certain trademark sounds emanating from individuals, the music is not at all concerned with such distinctions and the assembled quintet merge together quite nicely. Indeed, the musicians are reticent enough that it rarely sounds like five players at once. A fluttery drone underlies the initial phase, serving as an aural canvas for some buzz saw squalls, sine wave bleeps and resonant clangs. That drone fluctuates quite attractively, sometimes narrowing into a static sizzle, other times billowing outward, becoming intriguingly ill-defined. Things grow sparse midway through, the drone morphs into a delicately high, ringing tone with some beautiful, light clattering sounds which make their way to the forefront, as though piped in from some miniature, alien restaurant. The single track, which sounds as though it was culled from a longer set, proceeds on in this manner through the remainder of the piece. It never quite attains the depths of mystery of an AMM performance and both Otomo and Sachiko have produced stronger work. Still, this is a substantial effort and one that fans of these musicians and this genre will want to hear.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick