W.O.O. Revelator - "Taking The Long View" (W.O.O. Music 1999, Sweet-004)
W.O.O. - "im HuberLand" (W.O.O. Music 1999, Sweet-003)
World Of Tomorrow - "Soul Motive" (W.O.T. Music 1999, WOT-001)
Action Adventure Systems - "So Fucking Good" (1999, AAS 002)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
My introduction to W.O.O. was through an article in Strider News (ALL AI readers should know Strider News!) and when I heard they would be performing at Strange Daze I decided to check out some CD's beforehand. Whole Other Orbit, World Of Opportunity, World Out of Order... W.O.O. can stand for a number of things depending on the circumstances says band leader and sax player Bonnie Kane. But for those who appreciate the aesthetic value of noise and sonic mayhem, W.O.O. has a lot to offer. And I was quite pleased to see that the Strange Daze crowd enjoyed W.O.O.'s brand of high energy free jazz with a tripped out, punked out edge. W.O.O. is neither for the timid nor those looking for something on the meditational side.
"Taking The Long View" features the trio that appeared at Strange Daze: Bonnie Kane on sax, flute, and efx, Chris Forsyth on electric guitar, and Ray Sage on drums and percussion. Coltrane at his wildest is what these tracks often remind me of but Forsyth is like an acid guitar version of a Fred Frith freakout, and Sage's drums can be relentless. All three instruments stand out making this indeed a cooperative trio. That's not to say there aren't quieter moments and in some ways these can be the most exciting as all three musicians really seem to be going the furthest in their own direction while still retaining a group coherence. And there are even moments when the band can be downright dreamy like the finale of "Interlacing" when Bonnie plays the flute. (There was a similar moment at the Strange Daze show.) One of my favorite tracks is "Infinitely Suspended" which features smokey lounge beat jazz flute, dissonant guitar noodlings, and intermittent drum bashing from Sage that sounds like someone is holding him back against his will. Power trio instrumentals to the nth degree.
Another 1999 release, and a bit different from the previous disc, is "im Huberland", which features Kane, Sage, and poet performer David Huberman, along with various guests on bass and guitar. All the tracks are from a European tour that included a refugee camp in Slovenia. Huberman sets the tone for the entire disc on the one minute opening track "Ranter". "I'm a ranter!!! I'm a raver!!!", he yells. Huberman has no shortage of aggression and he fits well with the W.O.O. musicians. I think my favorite tracks are those from the refugee camp, possibly because I remember Bonnie telling me about the experience when we chatted at Strange Daze. You can hear the people in the background and even participating on "Noise" as Huberman screams "NOOOOIIIISE!!!", and the crowed responds in kind. It took me a few listens to warm to this disc, but it's important to note that this is a big part of what W.O.O. is about. An earlier disc, "In Your Own Juices", features numerous spoken word artists and I have to say that if spoken word rantings over the music I've described interests you then this earlier disc is the place to start. But for this listener it's the instrumental powerhouse W.O.O. Revelator that really trips my trigger.
Related by common member Bonnie Kane (and several of whom were with the W.O.O. clan at Strange Daze is World Of Tommorrow, a still jazzy but more acid jam rock version of W.O.O. Revelator. Along with Bonnie's sax and flute is Cliff B. Ferdon on drums and trumpet, Scott "spaceboy12" Prato on bass, David Romanelli on guitars, and Corbridge Lion on trombone and effects. Yup, lots of horns and acid rock to boot. "Sirens" was a tune that grabbed me, starting as a horn freakout not unlike Coltrane and Sanders on "Om", but soon it settles into an easy going groove that's like a noisier, more dissonant version of Soft Machine. Ferdon's drumming is much like W.O.O.'s Sage in that he flails away on his own in a free jazz style that's still born to rock. "Entropy (Lords Of Chaos) is a spacey jazz piece with horns and flute soaring about the astral planes to the beat of a drugged thumping bass line. "Fly Paper" is a similar tune but gets back into that dissonant Soft Machine territory I enjoyed earlier, though with heavier psych guitar and ultimately a rockin' jam with the horns. And for total jazz-psych chaos "David's Cheese & Cracker's" and "Camel Desert Caravan" are not to be missed. Overall, AI readers who enjoy horns would like World Of Tomorrow better for their psychedelic leanings but I think this and W.O.O.'s Taking The Long View make a good pair.
Ok, the friends & relations thing just keeps going with these guys. Remember The Geeky Dorks reviewed last issue? The ones with the wild "My Pussy Hurts" tune? Well Cliff Ferdon from that band was with the W.O.O. folks at Strange Daze, plays in World Of Tomorrow, and plays in Action Adventure Systems as well. Busy boy. AAS is a ways off from W.O.O. and W.O.T. being a guitar/bass/drums power trio. But the mayhem factor is well represented on this 22 minute CDEP. The music is driving punk-metal but Thomas Leyland's guitar can crank out the crazed psych licks making this more than the screamfest it may sound like on the surface. "This Is How The World Works" is a standout track with punk-like simple drum and bass bashing and yelling vocals, but the guitar is completely in space... well, maybe a circus in space. In fact there's lots of interesting guitar here, and I suppose it's the combination of the punk elements and the freaked out psych guitar that also left me curiously interested in The Geeky Dorks. Metal and punk fans who also like heavy psych would dig this.
For more information on all things W.O.O., you can visit their web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz