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Doctor Nerve — Every Screaming Ear
(Cuneiform Rune 88, 1997, CD)
by Rob Walker, Published 1997-05-01
Guitarist / bandleader Nick Didkovsky's latest Dr. Nerve offering is something of a live retrospective of the band's various musical personalities. While many of the tracks on Every Screaming Ear were impressive in their own right as studio incarnations, hearing Didkovsky's ensemble flawlessly execute these drastically demanding charts in concert is something to behold. The full range of Dr. Nerve's music is represented here, from avant-garde horn arrangements accompanied by crunching metallish guitar riffs, to chamber style RIO, free jazz exploration, and beyond. With impressive precision and musicality, the ensemble navigates its way through these often striking juxtapositions. The more energetic tracks approach hardcore in their intensity, focusing on rhythmic angularity and unexpected syncopation over driving ostinatos. Quieter pieces exude a subtle lyricism out of their contrapuntal figures and atonal textures. The disc also features a short chamber orchestra performance, and closes with the only studio track on the album, a Captain Beefheart cover in collaboration with the Meridian Arts Ensemble. The breadth of material covered here alone would make Every Screaming Ear the perfect introduction to this one-of-a-kind ensemble, and the superb performances only make it all the more delectable. Recommended to fans and newcomers alike.
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