"The aggregation of musicians known as the “Micro-East Collective” counteract the extended themes and microtonal concepts implemented on their previous release 062099 with abstract interludes, free-jazz improvisation and acerbic wit on this new recording, titled Out Of My Face. Along with guitarist Nick Didkovsky and trumpeter Rob Henke of New York’s heralded “Dr. Nerve” band, this large ensemble pursues brief melodic sound-bites and curiously interesting dialogue on the appropriately titled piece, “Sound Bites”. On “Quartet 7899”, guitarist Nick Didkovsky’s layered approach featuring electronically induced shades of distortion and altogether eerie effects counterbalances attenuated notes from the horn section, Ian Davis’ tribal induced rhythms and the amalgamation of loosely stated themes. Here, lucid imagery of perhaps a group of hikers lost in the woods, or wolves separated from their pack came to mind! “The title track, “Out Of My Face” commences with cackling laughter by members of the band, intermingled with brief choruses and laconic passages in somewhat of a round-robin fashion.
No two compositions are alike as we continue onward with “Stimulation”. With this piece, the musicians pursue avant-garde minimalism featuring dissonant phrasing by various members of the woodwind section, along with Corey Sims’ backwash of accordion, intersecting motifs and tumultuous dialogue. Ethnocentric percussion and Didkovsky’s crunching electric guitar lines provide the backbone for the instrumentalist’s conveyance of jagged phrasing along with a few sequences of crash and burn interplay whether in brief spurts or harmonious accord on the piece titled, “Buried Textures”. Essentially, the individual members of the band maintain a viable role within the big scheme of things as if they were actors portraying their roles in an Off-Broadway play.
Out Of My Face is often fascinating if somewhat unclassifiable. Needless to state, these folks are on to something here as the vibrancy, startling chemistry and elevated degree of musicianship will more than likely impart a permanent inscription or impression on one’s psyche! .......Recommended * * * *" - Glenn Astarita, allaboutjazz.com
The music on this CD was recorded in performance at Tonic (NYC) on 7 August 1999 and at Go! Studios (Carrboro, NC) on 14 November 1999. Very different rooms in very different places, but with a great commonality - the North Carolina-based membership of the Micro-East Collective, a village orchestra for this century that believes the past made some exotic choices in exactly the right way. The membership fluctuates. Fifteen Carolina members traveled to New York in August to play with five guys from Dr. Nerve. Seventeen played the Go! Studios party for the release of MEC's first CD, 062099. We're up to 22 members as I write this. And chance determines more than the composition of the Collective for any given performance. Chance is a valued partner of our composers and compositions and performances, our van riders and our collaborators.
What does it sound like? That's a sacramental piece of business between you and your audio system, friend, but I'll say that it is music that takes place in the irreplaceable and unique moment. It is music that acknowledges the esthetic of John Cage, George Crumb, Anthony Braxton, many others, whilst disobeying their instructions. It is music that takes the powerful and fleeting suggestions of its performers to heart, then reshapes them into a world of collegial conversations without words and vivid dialogs in a foreign tongue. It is music that cannot be described until your ears let it in. Try it. - Ian Davis 1/17/2000
It's killing heat on the highway. Doctor Nerve's jammed in a a car blasting down the east coast. On tour in late summer. A thermos of coffee offers miniscule sips. 110 degree heat in a black tar truck stop. A Les Paul and a guitar amp baking in the trunk. Drum skins sweating. Sampling electronics frying. Bass clarinet parched. Soprano sax cracked and bleeding. The heat. It's killing.
North Carolina. The Good Neighbors' house is sheltered in good mother shade, offered by the boughs of thick trees. There is a bright lake nearby. We swim. We sit on a dock. We put on our sunglasses. That night, we start a tiny snowball of improvisation in Ian's living room. It grows effortlessly, it becomes a monster: an avalanche that roars for hours, bursts out of the house, gushes out to nearby homes. Hell's heat's forgotten. This is a Good Place. We stay.
Years later, it is Ian Davis behind the wheel, heading up the coast, bringing with him the Micro East Collective: a disparate collection of twisted musicians dedicated to pounding the living daylights out of those areas where composition and improvisation collide. It's hot again. And it's late. Scores keep the ideas in focus, while each moment rides on each musician's decisions. Now there's no time for philosophy. We have 15 minutes to discuss something like 15 scores before the gig. Confusion, clarification, the forgotten instruction, the moment. The Moment! Doctober Nerve and MEC. Damn, this is going to be fun. - Nick Didkovsky, 1-08-00, NYC