Binary System Invention Box

Roger Miller has been barrelling along for 20-plus years on keyboards, having created memorable music with Mission of Burma, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and on his own. This is his third full-length release with the Binary System, aided and abetted by drummer Larry Dersch. The Binary System's hard-hitting, non-introspective rockitude is not far removed from what he has been playing all along - this is refreshing in an age where free jazz is a little too hip and keyboardists seem to want to prove that they're the second coming of Misha or Cecil. Miller uses his piano like Glenn Branca uses guitars, as a canvas. He is not shy about preparing it and rolling out cluster after cluster of notes. All the while, it's done with rock rhythms varied by formal ritards and accelerandos. To change up the sounds, the Binary System also explore passages of gamelan-inspired sounds and 20th century classical musings - Dersch is in lockstep with Miller, it sounds like the vast majority of this music is written to a fine point. That said, Dersch comes up with inventive phrasings of drum sounds to propel the rhythms. There are points that you'd swear this was some mad scientist's sequencer. If you loved instrumental SST stuff, Invention Box should grab you. Do yourself a favour, though, bypass "The Sound of Music - Today," because the world needs no more versions of that particular tune. (Atavistic)