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Earwax Control - Number Two Live (previously 2 LIVE)



Away from his duties with the Pat Metheny Group, drummer Paul Wertico pursues raucous, free-flowing improvisations with Chicago-based Earwax Control. Wertico's credits include "weird noises and feedback." He's also the center of gravity, maintaining pulses and grooves, surrounded by Jeff Czech's guitar and violin, and Gordon James' keyboards. Healthy doses of distortion and "found sounds" intrude, often changing the direction of the performance. Earwax Control balances creativity with a sense of fun. - Three and a half stars!

Hi-Fi World (England)

Earwax Control are experimental musicians; Paul Wertico on drums, percussion and anything that comes to hand, Jeff Czech on guitar, vocal, violin, bugle, etc. and Gordon James playing varied synthesised strangeness. It's improvised, and not necessarily jazz, but they run sounds - and, of course, lots of feedback - around the group in waves and washes that construct remarkably clear and lucid images considering the fact that instruments seem less played than, well, playing. Often Naim recordings, in my opinion, can dampen the performers' 'edge' somewhat but there's still raw energy aplenty in this CD, enhanced by Naim's high technical standards. It's stuff that will probably test meeker systems (and eardrums) to destruction if approached carelessly but, with due care and liberal applications of Paracetamol, it definitely repays attention.

Jazz (England)

A bizarre, deeply experimental album from a label based in the appropriately mystical and corn-circle county of Wiltshire. Earwax Control is the creation of Pat Metheny Group drummer Paul Wertico, who occasionally gets together with his pals Jeff Czech and Gordon James to 'spontaneously compose and perform'. In other words they make it up as they go along and throw in some very weird electronic noises to boot. The strangest thing of all, however, is that the results are not that unpleasant. There's a bit of unnecessary chat to begin with, and the first track is shocking in its unruliness, but once you realise that jazz is never going to get free-er than this you just sit back and enjoy the ride. The first sign that some kind of twisted logic is at work comes in the artily named "Clevinger Did Forget, And Now He's Dead". Grinding, dirty, Hendrix-style guitar punctuating sinister keyboard musings and sudden, strange, gaping silences. Earwax Control are trying to tell a story. They aren't creating tunes, they're creating atmosphere. The other stand-out track is called "Took a Drive, Hit a Ghost". It's plucky and upbeat, with pounding percussion and something that sounds like a concertina. The result is funky rural, a kind of cajun on LSD. Earwax Control are undoubtedly bonkers, but they're entertaining with it.

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