Debut by improvisational guitar god Derek Bailey's new five-piece band

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Overall rating:

Score 4



Readers bewitched by David Sylvian’s Blemish will have noticed the key contributions of veteran contrarian guitarist Derek Bailey, and here he’s simultaneously pushing the boundaries of improv and going back to its roots. Presenting a never more unlikely instrumentation of bass saxophone (Tony Bevan), clarinet (Alex Ward), dictaphone (THF Drenching) and, if you will, bricks for drums (Sonic Pleasure), this incredible record sounds like a collision between Test Dept’s determinism and the Bonzo Dog Band’s mischief. Drenching’s dictaphone squeals and cackles like a virtual saxophone. A highlight is the 17-minute “Charity Singles Ball”, wherein Bailey’s guitar seems to join previously unimaginable dots between Charlie Christian and The Edge before the band’s closing collective screams threaten to demolish the speakers. Brilliant.