William Hooker and Lee Ranaldo The Celestial Answer

You know, when I check out a CD of improvised music and see that the tracks average in the 15-minute range, well, I get nervous. Even some of the masters of the music have releases that simply can’t sustain the experience for an extended period of time and now we have an album of drums and guitar/synth jams. A recipe for wanking? Yes, but be prepared to be pleasantly surprised! Hooker’s drums have always reminded me of thunderstorms; his relaxed phrasing seems to alter the passage of time in a very interesting way and Ranaldo is both thoughtful in his responses and propositions as well as being well in control of his guitar/electronics. This disc is made up of tracks that were recorded in 1997 at Sonic Youth’s studio and sought to represent, with a studio vibe, their live sets. What this seems to have done is make the music more succinct, focused and less of an event. It works beautifully; Hawkwind vibes, great poetry and all. This is epic music in the best sense. (Minor 7 Flat 5)