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Album Review

The free improv trio Yellowcake (a name that has a considerably more sinister implication since the run-up to the Iraq War, a secondary meaning that the band almost certainly intended) consists of a clarinetist (Jacob Lindsey), a laptop-oriented sound manipulator (Scott Looney), and a drummer who also dabbles with an old-fashioned analogue synthesizer (Gino Robair). So don't expect covers of "Johnny B. Goode" on their debut album, recorded live in March 2005 in Oakland, CA. These eight lengthy tracks follow the general expected path of live sets by noise bands: a few passages of intriguing improvised interplay, separated by really rather a lot of tiresome meandering that consists primarily of high-register squeaks and skronks by Lindsey, echoed by Looney's needling electronic blips and Robair's "let's see what happens when I bang on this!" brand of arrhythmic drumming. This is the sort of live album that was almost certainly far more intriguing to the audience that was actually in the room watching these three fearless experimenters go exploring; without that tactile and visual element, it's just a lot of...well, noise, really.

Yellowcake, Yellowcake
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