Heavy Meta

E%2376 CD E#76 CD

1995 release. "Originally planned as a 1998 release for the ill-starred K'EY Records. Heavy Meta represents something like the return of one of America's prodigal sons. Not that pianist Greg Goodman has been away or anything. It's just that, after a brilliant series of recordings for his own Beak Doctor label, Mr. Goodman's unique style has been all but absent from the recording world. Until very recently, when Beak Doctor resurfaced, he had appeared only fleetingly with guitarist Henry Kaiser and in an unauthorized recording released by the Incus label, otherwise he had been silent as far as the outside world could tell. The trio assembled for Heavy Meta is formidable. Besides Mr. Goodman, it includes America's protean guitar improvisor, Henry Kaiser, and the powerful cross-cultural drumming of Lukas Ligeti. The programming of the material on this disk follows a pattern of inter-relationships as structurally complex and taut as those posited in Harry Mathews's novel Cigarettes (1987). The three shift between different paired settings and in and out of trio formation so nimbly that the entire process seems redolent of anti-Americanism. There is little evidence here of the individual braying that is thought of as our domestic style. Indeed there are passages of 'Riddled' where Mr. Goodman's interior piano plucking merges so completely with Mr. Kaiser's guitar jumble that it's difficult for my mind to force them apart. Playing such as that, or the free-ranging game of emotional post office that concludes 'War & Piece,' has an ego-less quality that is far too rare in U.S. improvising circles. Tell that bastard Ashcroft the news. Listened to as a whole, Heavy Meta demonstrates both the excellence of Mr. Goodman's playing and the width of intelligence displayed by this unheralded trio. The opening track, 'Logical Types' is a bravuro performance from all hands. From the strumbly, Magic Band-like opening cadences by Mr. Ligeti and Mr. Kaiser, through the sequences of equally whacked piano (imagine Beefheart on the piano rather than the alto), the piece spurts and blurts with everything from a broken lyricism that recalls Paul Bley to squabbling crescendos that have a density approaching Nancarrow's machine cycles. This is a ferocious and lyrical bastard of an album. It hews to no strict traditions, but roils across the landscape of modern formalism like an Ernie Bushmiller hoopsnake obeying naught but a mysterious interior gyroscope. It is a splendid and dizzy thing. And it is yours." --Byron Coley, Deerfield, MA