Alibi V.16 No.40 • Oct 4-10, 2007 

Sonic Reducer

David Torn prezens (ECM)

Guitarist David Torn “magicked” dozens of hours of live studio improv (with altoist Tim Berne, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey), condensing it down to 72 minutes and 45 seconds of astonishingly present jazz/electronica. Aggressively emotional, the compositions move through abrupt sonic shifts, as in the track “bulbs,” which opens with a techno bull in a china shop shift dreamscape shift acoustic interlude shift howling guitar of darkness. The burning fuses of Torn’s guitar lines set off conflagrations everywhere, and his mates are ready with the gasoline. Yet the anxiety and terror are sometimes subsumed in the contemplative peace of interstellar drift. [MM]

Dethklok The Dethalbum (Williams Street)

Good satire doesn't just make fun of a thing; it actually has to be the thing. Truly, you don't get much more metal than Dethklok, the fictional band on Adult Swim's animated "Metalocalypse" show. It's metal with a sense of humor—but it's good metal, with double-bass pedal work ticking away behind fast guitar licks and death-growl vocals that are only barely discernible. Song titles help with the funny. Now "Go Forth and Die" before you are "Bloodrocuted" by a “Hatredcopter" on your "Brithday Dethday" and become nothing more than a "Briefcase Full of Guts." [MD]

Grayskul Bloody Radio (Rhymesayers)

Just last week, I was playing "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas"—driving through Los Santos in a stolen lowrider to the other girlfriend's house—when Gang Starr's "B.Y.S." came on the in-game radio station, Play Back (hosted by Public Enemy's Chuck D). I thought, "Damn, I wish I'd been around when rap sounded like that." Then Bloody Radio hit my desk. Grayskul isn't the new millennium version of Gang Starr, but these men do, openly, make a move to do something more honest then the "drugs and hos" schtick often topping the charts. Bloody Radio isn't an ego-tripping album stuffed with sleazy lines—it's genuine, underground, speak-to-the-everyman (and women) rap. [AD]

[MM] Mel Minter, [MD] Marisa Demarco, [AD] Amy Dalness