Greg Segal & Bret Hart - "Duets: Volume 2"
(InstrumenTales Records 2003)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: January 2004

For their second collaboration, Greg Segal and Bret Hart employ a variety of guitars, electronics, tapes and effects to produce a set that explores improvisational rock, experimental sound construction and extraterrestrial landscapes. The two "Kitchen Carlyle" parts (Bakes 1 & 2) open and close the set. Both are multi textured sound explorations that utilize shifting sound waves, voice samples and assorted clatters to create dark and eerie avant-garde sound-art pieces. But the 15 minutes Bake 2 is the real highlight, with power drill quite adequately serving a guitar function at points, and the voice samples reaching crowd levels of volume and getting stranger and stranger and more blended with the drones and effects all the time.

There are some really ripping guitar moments on the album too, like "You Asked For It", a brief but breathtaking blast of guitar terrorism. "Chopper" starts off similarly rocking, with a space metallic crunching axe on the one side and an intense driving melody on the other, both guitar sounds being completely different but complementing each other nicely. After a few minutes it segues into a very different theme, having an avant world music ambient feel, with an odd but intriguing combination of electro drones and sounds waves, a fluttering recorder melody (I guess that's what it is), and noise chords. Wild stuff and one of my favorites of the set.

"Mercury Jones" is an interesting tune that has a "song" quality, and kind of struck me as a spacey James Bond or Pink Panther styled theme piece, though in a completely off-beat way. "Back" gets even more spacey, with the guitars creating a partly melodic, partly sonic freakout alien explosion of noise, feedback, UFO signals and aggressive ambience. Very cool. For pure cavernous drones and spacecraft engine room activity you can't beat "There Is Really Nothing". A meandering drone rumbled in my brain and chest while an off-kilter metronome radio signal beat seemed determined to throw off my equilibrium. But there are moments in which these waves of sound come together in harmony... though only for the briefest moments... quickly veering off in different directions, often teasing me by running parallel and then dashing off again. Another one of my favorites. Another standout is "Don't Wake Up This Morning", which rocks hard but sees the guitar dueling with a bubbling sound, but also including sonic freakouts, anthemic soloing and a brief guitar bit that I can't describe but reminded me of a sound common to Fred Frith's first two Ralph albums. An excellent set of experimental sound-art and guitar aggression from two of the underground's most imaginative and stylistically varied musicians.

For more information you can visit the InstrumenTales web site at:
Visit Greg Segal's web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o InstrumenTales Records; 428 Patrick Street; Eden, North Carolina 27288.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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