Prog Archives Review: Quake

Chris Cutler and experimental electronic musician Thomas Dimuzio (who has played with 5UU's among others) first worked together in 1994, and since then they have worked sporadically as a duo. This album was recorded at two live events in 1999, and showcases a remarkable collaboration between two highly accomplished improvising musicians. Chris Cutler uses pick ups, contact microphones and effects pedals in his electric drumkit, and is able to produce a surprising variety of sounds and textures, as can be heard on his album 'Solo'. Thomas Dimuzio uses his sampler to manipulate Cutler's performance in real time, and also uses short wave radio and CD sources to add to the mix. This is music which is informed as much by contemporary electro-acoustic practice as it is by rock, and it is full of unexpected sounds and surprises. For most of the album's playing time it's difficult to believe that a drum kit was used at all, although when it does make its presence felt (such as part 4 of When Cracks Appear) it does so to thunderous effect. If it were possible to record continental plates shifting or mountains forming, this is what they would sound like; vast, stately and moving at their own pace with inexorable force. Unlike a lot of contemporary electronic music this is not based around endless drones, but constantly shifts and changes as the two players react to each other. It's also crammed full of detail and repays repeated and careful listening.

Thomas Dimuzio belongs to that select group of musicians who use the sampler as an instrument in its own right, and has expanded the boundaries of what is possible in a live performance. Chris Cutler is a perfect musical foil for him, and between them they create music which has few precedents and is truly innovative. This is particularly recommended to fans of more adventurous electronic music, but anybody with a taste for the adventurous and experimental should hear this. (4 stars) —Syzygy