Alastair Galbraith's creative restlessness and collaborative spirit have long been one of his hallmarks, so it's not surprising that nearly a quarter century after his first recorded work in the Rip he would start up a full new band, working with his singer/multi-instrumentalist wife Maxine Funke and percussionist Mike Dooley. Waves and Particles, the Hundred Dollar Band's debut, shows that Galbraith and company certainly aren't inclined to mellow out with age; starting abruptly with a fade-up into "Hope," presumably part of a larger piece and featuring Galbraith and Funke's dueling violin/cello combination, makes for an attention-grabbing as well as a dissonantly beautiful start. Almost but not entirely wholly instrumental, elements of Waves and Particles will be familiar to fans of Galbraith's work in general in terms of basic approach but has its own clear identity away from such work as A Handful of Dust or the Matthew De Gennaro duets, instead being improvisation in a rock band guise. As a whole, Waves and Particles almost feels like a sampler of a larger series of efforts; the liner notes give nothing away, but the shifts in recording ambience and context -- at least one song is clearly from a live performance with a slightly talkative audience -- help show this as much as anything. It's actually a very interesting way of presenting the work, and the feeling of the whole album makes for an often entrancing series of songs that have an overall similarity while also showing differences -- the piercing, high-end mix of sounds on "Chronicle Fireworks" and the extended exploration "Chronicle Pit," for instance, bear no direct similarity beyond the names. There's also an interesting nod to Galbraith's past with the inclusion of a version of "Midnight Blue," originally done with the one-off group Plagal Grind in 1990. The Hundred Dollar Band version does it proud, Dooley's rumbling drums pushing the interplay of electric guitar and cello forward steadily.
|Label:||Emperor Jones (Rev)|