Exposé Online banner

Ut Gret — Recent Fossils
(Ear X-tacy 9650-2, 2006, 3CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-01

Recent Fossils Cover art

This Louisville, Kentucky based ensemble (pronounced Oot-Greet) has been around about as long as I can remember. Over that long period they have gigged a lot but released only a few recordings. This is the band's 25th anniversary box set (though there is no box, just a massive quadri-fold digipack housing the three discs and a 20 page booklet with a story and footnotes that will keep you smiling). Nominally a five-piece, the band has invariably involved numerous musicians over the years, plus some additional collaborators and such, though the mainstay and de-facto bandleader is multi-instrumentalist Joee Conroy. The band covers a wide range of styles, but mostly what one hears is music that exists on the borderlines of several idioms, including elements of folk, rock, jazz, world music, free improvisation, modern classical, and experimental music. That covers just about everything, doesn’t it? Whatever they play is – on a whole – generally unclassifiable. Likewise, every member plays numerous instuments, to even list all the instruments played by the current lineup would eat up the entire review, let alone past lineups, which is mostly what this archival set is all about, recorded originally in the 2002 timeframe. The three discs each have their own title (The Dig, Time Laps, In C) and all of these could have easily been separate releases.

Disc one is The Dig, subtitled Compositions for Experimental Gamelan – eighteen mostly short tracks featuring real or sampled gamelan (or Western instruments playing in gamelan scales) as well as other world instrumentation (flutes, mbira, hand drums, gongs, wood percussion, suling, berimbau, tamboura, didgeridoo... the list goes on and on) to produce a fusion of the traditional Indonesian sound and various Western idioms that respect similar scales. The results are nothing short of stunning. Now let's skip to disc three, In C, which is uses similar instrumentation and samples thereof applied to the Terry Riley classic, which itself is just a very basic set of rules that the players improvise on, and in this case given the instrumental application, it certainly sounds like a natural follow-up to disc one, albeit a more familiar one.

Which brings us to disc two, Time Laps: Idiomatic and Non-Idiomatic Improvisations. That pretty much describes the nine tracks that are presented here in a general sense, where just about anything can and does happen. Usually Ut Gret sticks to an instrumental palette, but here we hear voices on some of the cuts, and on the opening title track, that comes along with shakuhachi (traditional Japanese wood flute), koto, santoor, electric guitar, looped samples, and the bowed and plucked interior of a piano. One track "21st Century String Quartet" is in fact performed entirely on two violins, a viola and cello, but don't expect anything remotely conventional. "Testosterone Fairy Games" and "The Enemy Is Dust" employ more conventional instrumentation, and tend to exist within a hybrid of Western rock and jazz styles. "Appalachian Fall" finds guest Eugene Chadbourne contributing banjo to a long and spacy free improv also featuring clarinet, mandolin, cello, sitar, keyboards, and percussion. Time Laps is very different from the other two discs, perhaps a bit more challenging at times, but nonetheless satisfying.


Filed under: Archives, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Ut Gret, Henry Kaiser

More info
http://www.utgret.net

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Present - Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) – Present has a history of making macabre movie-soundtrack music since their first album Triskaidekaphobie was released in 1980. Their ninth record is accompanied by an essential archive DVD featuring...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues