Verbatim, Flesh and Blood is the conclusion of an ambitious project initiated with the 1993 CD Say No More. Bob Ostertag asked three musicians (drummer Gerry Hemingway, bassist Mark Dresser, and vocalist Phil Minton) to separately record solo improvisations. He loaded the tapes in a computer, fragmented the material, and recombined the samples into two compositions, putting together a "band" that had never played a note together. This first phase was released as Say No More. The composer then asked the musicians to learn their parts and they performed the material live. A recording, Say No More in Person, documented the tour. Ostertag took the live recording, loaded it in a computer, fragmented the material, and composed another piece, Verbatim. Once again, the band performed it live and you arrive at Verbatim, Flesh and Blood, recorded live in January 1998. With each phase the music has been transformed (the musicians were allowed freedom when interpreting the piece live) and if there is a certain similitude in the musical vocabulary developed (these are the same musicians after all), the music itself has evolved stylistically. You are far from the in-your-face approach of Say No More: quiet passages abound, textures are more refined, dynamics wider, and the whole thing is more pensive and introspective, without being self-absorbed. Ostertag's sampler playing is also better integrated with the band's work and Phil Minton's voice is used in less cartoonish ways. This whole project will go down in history as one of the most original artistic propositions of the 1990s.
AllMusic Review by François Couture