W.O.O. Revelator - "Notes On What's What - Live At ABC No Rio" (W.O.O. Music 2000, Sweet-005)
From Aural Innovations #11 (July 2000)
W.O.O. Revelator's follow-up to last year's "Taking The Long View" features more of the band's freeform jazz, punky, freakout improvisations. The tracks are a collection of live improvs from the past two years, all recorded while performing at ABC No Rio, an independent art space in New York City. The band is still Bonnie Kane on saxophone, flute, and electronics, Ray Sage on drums and percussion, and Chris Forsyth on guitar.
"Groundswell" opens the disc with a bang, and take no prisoners chaos reigns right out of the starting gate. W.O.O.'s strength is that each musician is equally in the lead, like the three-headed Ghidra pummeling the listener with their beautiful noise. Bonnie Kane's sax is like Coltrane and Hendrix meshed together, Sage is a man possessed wailing out varied manic percussion, and Forsyth plays his steady distorted textural noise guitar.
"Disarmament Festival" begins similar to "Groundswell", the trio bashing out a free-jazz noise intro. Sage really shines here like Buddy Rich overdosing on speed. Bonnie eases up on the sax aggression for a bit while Forsyth cranks out his Frith and Beefheart-like guitar. Forsyth has an interesting style, playing very much in a noisy avant-jazz manner, but his guitar adds a textural role to the music that isn't immediately apparent, but is key to the W.O.O. trademark sound.
Other highlight tracks include "The Clear Place", a quieter sonic exploration on which Bonnie's sax takes over the atmospheric role while Sage plays more subdued, but still busy percussion, and Forsyth treats us to more of his freewheeling guitar excursions. "Future Field" is totally my idea of a "power trio". Sax and guitar duel while the drums give the music a heavy rock element. And "Safe To Say" features trippy bluesy slide guitar and Bonnie playing an equally trippy, yet soothing efx'd flute melody. There's a marked contrast between the flute and guitar but it works in it's own weird W.O.O. way. Another great set from W.O.O. Revelator, and this disc is a testament to W.O.O.'s power as a live ensemble.
CLICK HERE to read the W.O.O. reviews that appeared in Aural Innovations #8
You can visit W.O.O. Revelator at their web site.
If you're in the NYC area you should check out the ABC No Rio web site for information on the upcoming shows.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz