Pseudo Buddha - "Live At Ellis Bean 7-29-00, Hooka-Jooka Vol 2" (Dogfingers/Uncle Buzz Records 2001, DF 1)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
Having heard the name Pseudo Buddha through Aural Innovations, I must admit that I had not actually heard any of their music. Therefore, this was my first glimpse into their world, my first taste of the music.
This CD was recorded live at the Ellis Bean Art Centre onto two tracks. So it gives a good overall picture of their live sound. I cannot compare it to any of their other albums because I have not heard any; I can only compare to other bands with a similar feel. I guess that there is a Vol. 1, and Psuedo Buddha fans will possibly know what this one is about, if they have heard the first.
Psuedo Buddha is Bob Dog: Magaptera Veena, Pokemon Guitar & Voice. James Rhodes: Steinberger Bass & Chapman Stick. Gil Gonzalez: Mondo Ridiculoso Percussion. James Cobb: Chalumeau, Flute, Alto Sax & Squeaky Toy. Johnny Rodriguez: Voice & Flutes. Gerry Gibbs: Hand Percussion Cage, Trumpet, Keyboard & Recorder. Daniel Upton: Didgeridu, Space Noises. Jeff Eales: Didgeridu. I am sure that I would have to see half of these instruments to access what the f**k they were, some of you might know? I certainly do not.
I get an instant impression of an Ozric Tentacles influence. The sound strays into those realms. This CD has nine tracks but they run with no gaps, it rolls exactly as it was at the gig. Personally, I think that it is one long track, possibly a lot of improvisation included in here. Kind of letting it flow as is felt at the time, and it does exactly that. It flows like an Ozrics Jam, but in my opinion it never reaches the hecticness that blows your cap off. It more or less glides through its motions with no real change from start to finish. That is not to say that I did not like it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that it has a very mellow vibe to it. The whole thing is of great sound quality for a live gig. The production is also good and the whole thing allowed me to inwardly explore the music. The soundscapes that are made carry along the set with ambience and intrigue. The Bass and Didgeridu work adds structure and dimension over the rhythm and percussion, the sound rather Indian'ish in feel. The fretless sounding Bass that works its magic over the Tabla'ish Percussion styles allow the Voices to almost chant in places. All is done to great result, especially the Wah Bass; I like that a lot.
There is a lot of other stuff happening as well with Trumpet and Sax and Guitar emerging here and there. However, to me it could have offered a lot more in the way of difference. I found that it started and did not progress very far from its original starting point. For an 8 Piece band the possibilities are endless, but for 50 minutes there is not much motion through tempo. It is very one paced, but it is interesting. I would like to hear other albums in search of that which I speak of. All in all it's a good live album. Very ambient and mellow with a lot of strange instrumentation being used.
For more information you can visit the Pseudo Buddha web site at: http://www.pseudobuddha.com.
Pseudo Buddha; 6210 Hayes; San Antonio, TX 78239.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard