The American conceptual composer is widely known in avant-garde music circles for his work in sampling and computer music, and was one of the first artists to use computers and samplers in free improvisation during the '80s, often alongside John Zorn, Fred Frith Phil Minton, and the like. Additionally working in multimedia performance and solo computer compositions, his work is often devised with a political agenda to the fore, and, throughout the '90s, he made some of the most challenging and intellectually inspired experimental music coming out of the U.S.A. This CD is the third in a project entitled "Say No More," which was devised as a work for exploring and challenging the relationships between humans and technology. With this composition, Ostertag set out to link his computer composition to the free-form improvising of Drummer Gerry Hemmingway, vocalist Phil Minton, and bassist Mark Dresser. The trio performed improvisations that Ostertag recorded and sampled, making a new arrangement from the performance on computer. The players then learned how to perform this new version, and Ostertag repeated this process again multiple times. The end result is this piece of sampled fragments of the band's performance. The work is a vital and highly experimental composition that challenges the concepts of improvisation and composition -- one could say that it is a work made in the gray area between the two disparate forms. Quite an achievement to straddle that divide.
AllMusic Review by Dean McFarlane