Each incarnation of Paul Rutherford's Iskra is a different beast. And each one has signaled a significant change of orientation, as if the trombonist reactivated the name only for his riskier projects. And Iskra3 is definitely one of them. The trombone is the only acoustic instrument featured in this trio. Its sounds are digitally taken apart and reassembled by Lawrence Casserley and Robert Jarvis. Casserley was part of Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Project. He has been doing this kind of thing for years and almost always with exceptional taste and invention. But the key here is Jarvis, himself an accomplished trombonist of the improvising kind. His deep understanding of the instrument gives his live processing an extra dimension or two. Computer, trombone and computer are locked in a complex three-way dance. Rutherford is left ample room to breathe and play. His signature tone provides the backbone of the whole album. Casserley and Jarvis explode, fragment and refract the trombone's input, and these digitalized ghost images trigger from Rutherford a kind of interaction that is strikingly different from his behavior with acoustic instrumentalists. Some listeners, especially those who have been following Rutherford's career, may find this album slightly cold sounding, but it surely is entertaining, as well as puzzling. The seven pieces are grouped into two "acts," with the suggestion that the album can be listened to in two sittings, but the sequence actually works better when taken in as a whole, so that the increasing alienness of "Felcrum" and "Mayilcra" retains its full impact. Iskra3 may remain an oddity in Rutherford's discography, but it is more than a simple concession to the electro-acoustic improv trend of the mid-'00s.