Bad Girls

Unauthorized Recordings

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Since these Bad Girls are in fact three guys, it's doubtful that their Unauthorized Recordings came out without their full knowledge and blessing. The music on this album was recorded in 1999 and released four years later. The Bad Girls are violinist Mike Khoury, saxophonist Wade Kergan (also spending time on clarinet and electronics), and Ben Bracken on guitar and electronics. Khoury's previous recording for Public Eyesore was an attitude-filled, fierce, free improv session (Insignia). This project is another creature altogether, focusing on the quiet and the tactile. We rarely hear Khoury's fiddle taking center stage. Instead he sticks to the shadows, knitting a wavy shroud with his bow. Kergan is more prone to step up, or maybe it's only because his reeds produce naturally clearer sounds that cut through the layers of electronics. Bracken alternates between noise and prepared guitar -- in "Calcutta Electric Rickshaw Ride," the longest piece by far at over 22 minutes, he limits his input to softly pressing steel wool over his guitar pick-up, with limited results, understandably. "Impressions of a Filthy Naked Hippy" gets dirtier, with Kergan being tempted to surrender to the attraction of Peter Brötzmann's powerful screech. "Patterns in Nature" features Bracken on acoustic guitar leading the proceedings into a twisted recontextualization of the music of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (but it lacks the gripping fascination exerted by the latter). The session sounds like it has been recorded in a narrow hallway, with Khoury standing behind and Bracken sitting up front. Most of what the violinist brings to the trio is either lost in the distance or drowned by the foreground sounds. It's too bad, since he seems to have something important to contribute.

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