Unknown Instructors CD review [Smog Veil]

Music Reviews
Unknown Instructors CD review [Smog Veil]
Feb 14, 2007, 09:18



Upfront: it's been my pleasure to know and work with mike watt since the early 90's (tho it ain't been for pay for the past 2-3 years). Notwithstanding, I doubt there's many that would quibble with me asserting that he's technically the sine non qua of living electric bassists or that an occasion for him to re-team with his longtime rhythmic sparring partner George Hurley (for you youngsters: this pair comprised 2/3rds of legendary art-punk units minutemen and fIREHOSE) is momentous and that there are few guitarists more worthy to hang with 'em than Joe Baiza (formerly of Saccharine Trust).

These cats accompany Dan McGuire's declamatory poetizing. McGuire's contributions are noir-ish, gritty tableaux, more or less narrative; all very tasty.

Meanwhile, as you'd expect, Hurley and watt's work is a joy to behold. Bold, spontaneous, oft times reckless and yet engaged in utter mind-meld, beat-trance. Sometimes, they tumble in elegant freefall not unlike Tony Williams and Ron Carter in Miles' visionary 60's quintet.  At other times, they etch out a deep, relaxed groove and snuggle into that pocket ever-so-luxuriously—giving listeners the opportunity to fully appreciate how finely chose and voiced each note and stroke is that come from these master players.

I doubt Unknown Instructors will be stealing fans from My Chemical Romance, but folks digging boho, art-punk rumba will swoon o'er this. [Smog Veil]

-Howard Wuelfing

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