This edition of Feedback Wave Riders -- three electric guitarists tangling with two multiwindmen -- melded the sound-essence aesthetics of the Cold Blue label with dense linear notions of free jazz. Lemme set it up for you. On the right, the impassively alert uncle Michael Jon Fink sat and touched his guitar with extreme fingertip sensitivity while kind of directing the traffic. Next, the younger, bearded longhair Antony DiGennaro (a cross between Jesse Colin Young and Kenny Loggins) had a more aggro approach involving a ruler and a stick stuck in his strings. In the middle, our famous distinguished whitehair Vinny Golia shuffled among seven wind instruments, from tiny to huge. To his right, the determined ascetic Ulrich Krieger blew almost as many. On the far left, the bikerish Chas Smith hunched over a pedal-steel guitar augmented with a self-made meander of thin vertical metal tuned rods. The five soon proved that such an array can paint most every color in the sound spectrum.
I'll call the three segments of the FWR set "Waves," "Peace" and "Pain."
The first part rolled dynamically. Krieger and Golia set up undulations on E-flat and bass clarinets; Smith shrieked sustained metal tension, rocked gentle caresses with his slide or rustled the metal grasses; DiGennaro barely controlled screaming peaks of feedback; Fink spread transparent atmosphere. Cosmic ghost stuff.
The peace part was more static, like something out of the Tibetan Himalayas, especially via Golia's cooing on some kind of exotic flute and the liver-massaging foghorn blasts that groaned forth from a saxophone as big as himself. There was mountain wind from Krieger's sax, grainy drone from Smith's bowed rods; the musicians listened to one another beautifully. At times, the ensemble exhaled infinitely textured chords like a gigantic pipe organ, mounting virtual crescendos of quiet that made me clench my teeth in terror.
The pain part built after Fink stroked his strings with a paint brush; the improvisation gained a mournful quality from Golia's ghaita-like Arabisms on a miniature straight sax, and shattered into a catharsis of reed squeals and feedback. I mean, it really hurt.
All this and no sharp edges, therefore no permanent wounds. Wonderful.
I missed the deep meditative duo drones and cycles of Devin Sarno and G.E. Stinson, because I was watching a damned basketball game. I'd feel better if the Lakers had won.