The idea came from Forever Einstein's Chuck Vrtacek: to put together an album of Cuneiform Records artists interpreting tunes from their label mates. Since the label had a pretty stable roster by 1994-1995, with most of them sharing some common musical aesthetics, the project has the possibility of being interesting. And it is. Unsettled Scores is not a compilation album or a label sampler. All tracks with the exception of one can't be find anywhere else (Volapük's rendition of Nick Didkovsky's "Three Curiously Insubstantial Duets No. 3" would later appear on their CD Slang!, along with No. 1 and 2). And yet, this is not an "unreleased material" patchwork: all tracks have been put together in 1994-1995, especially for the project, therefore one can feel the artistic cohesion of the whole. Ex-Soft Machine Hugh Hopper, Richard Pinhas, Doctor Nerve, and Univers Zéro all get tribute to the important place they hold in Cuneiform's catalogue. Some of the numerous highlights on Unsettled Scores include: Philarmonie's beautiful reading of Miriodor's "Transsibérien"; the latter's Present/Univers Zéro medley (including parts of "Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal" and "Heatwave"); a incredibly fast version of Daniel Denis' "Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances," delivered by the prog-core Japanese outfit Happy Family; Djam Karet's spirited jam on Richard Pinhas' "Dedicated to K.C."; George Cartwright's jazzed-up take on Univers Zéro's "Complainte"; and finally an unreleased Univers Zéro piece completed by Nick Didkovsky (that one's a real treat!). Other renderers/renderees include Forever Einstein, The Muffins, Piero Milesi, David Borden, Birdsongs of the Mezosoic, Phil Miller, Henry Kaiser, U Totem, Virgil Moorefield, and Forrest Fang. Any fan of the Cuneiform roster will find something to like in here, but Univers Zéro aficionados will be particularly delighted.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture