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"Fabric is the Micro-East Collective's third CD. During the year between the recording of its debut 062099 and the first sessions for this album, the collective underwent frequent mutations (a phenomenon inherent in the existence of an ensemble this big), but mostly has found a way to put on disc its very personal brand of composition-meets-free improvisation music in glorious sound. In terms of stereo separation, mix, and depth, Fabric floats a few stories above recordings by comparable ensembles (including the band's own first two albums). Yet, the listener notices the sound quality only after a couple of spins; the music hits first. The Micro-East Collective has matured into one of the best improvisers' orchestras around. Fabric contains 15 pieces. Most have a score as their basis; a handful are completely improvised. There can be anywhere from three to 20 musicians playing on any track, and tracks can last from five seconds to 13 minutes. What makes Fabric so good is the variety: "Gather and Cast" is a ten-minute drone, while pieces like the title track and "Magnetic Hive Transmissions" follow a twisted avant rock path that leads right back into the London free improv school. In fact, this CD hits the listener as the unlikely child of Doctor Nerve (members of which appeared on Micro-East's second CD Out of My Face) and the London Improvisers Orchestra, a feeling that did not come that much into focus on the ensemble's previous albums. Loose rock structures as well as free improv playing are both present, but no jazz and -- most of all -- none of those tight funky new jazz licks orchestras of this kind have a tendency to revert to when nothing else works out. Alto saxophonist Frank Gratkowski makes a guest appearance on "Magnetic Hive Transmissions," turning the piece into a very powerful closer. This CD is not for the faint of heart, but strongly recommended." - Francois Couture,

A great thing about a large group is that there are so many small groups - and so many permutations - nestled within. Micro-East Collective has always represented both during performances. "Fabric" is a collection of small and large group improvisations and compositions written and performed by the Collective membership. Another fine aspect of a large group is that nothing sounds like a large group. The sound cannot be imitated by small groups or overdubs. For one thing, the physical space occupied by a large group creates an image that is far wider, far deeper, far higher and lower, more timbres per cubic image foot, than small groups can ever achieve. It is the "solo voice - in a whisper or a roar - of this immense and complicated creature that makes a large group worth puzzling together and sustaining. - Ian Davis 12/23/2000


released January 1, 2002

Aaron Oliva, double bass; Amy Wilkinson, clarinet; Carrie Shull, oboe; Carrie Shull, oboe; Chris Eubank, cello; Chris Stamey, lights; Christopher Thurston, double bass; Chuck Johnson, guitar, banjo; Corey Sims, trumpet, alto horn, accordion; Crowmeat Bob, alto sax, bass clarinet, trombone; D'Arcy Grae, bassoon; David Jordan, clarinet, slide whistle, suona; David Morris, tuba; Eric Furfine, flugelhorn; Frank Gratkowski, alto sax; Greg Decker, baritone and tenor sax; Ian Davis, percussion; Jeff Brown, tenor, alto and soprano sax; Kim Ashley, violin; Mac McCaughan, analog synthesizer; Mark Simonsen, vibraphone, xylophone, percussion; Marth Bausch, flute, pennywhistle; Nathan Logan, percussion; Patty Painter-Wakefield, French horn; Rich Robeson, guitar; Walker Martin, guitar; Wiliam McConaghy, trombone, trumpet, cornet, slide trumpet


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Micro-East Collective

Micro-East Collective was a large (usually 20 musicians) improvising (usually working from a rule set) ensemble based in the Triangle area of North Carolina. It performed and recorded between summer 1999 and about 2004. The music focuses on timbre and timbral changes rather than on explicit rhythms, melodies and/or harmonies. ... more

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