Mats Gustafsson, Sonic Youth and Friends Hidros 3

Part of being an avant-garde guitarist is to know when to make short, aggressive jabs and when to freak-out all over the strings. Timing is everything when you’re dealing with noise-bursts, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo (who are joined here by the inimitable Loren Connors) have been acquainted with these ideas of control and discipline since they started performing with Glenn Branca back in the early ’80s. Swedish free sax blower and microtonal composer Mats Gustafsson, too, must be well acquainted with the rules of discipline, as he’s broken a whole bunch of them on his latest chaotic opus, Hidros 3. Dedicated to Patti Smith and featuring Gustafsson’s muted and often unnoticeable use of his "contrabass saxophone” (like his fluteophone, a self-invented instrument), Hidros 3 is an electrically flowing mess of gradual progression and subtle intensity that matches a slapdash of jabbed guitars with noisy electronic manipulations (occasionally interspersed with Kim Gordon’s random canonising) that were mixed live by Jim O’Rourke’s signature touch. Gustafsson’s burbling solos are definite high-points in this rather tedious live session, which most recalls Sonic Youth’s SYR EP series from a few years ago. And since there isn’t really enough of Gustafsson’s presence here, Hidros 3 ends up being Sonic Youth’s show. As a result, this is only recommended for hardcore fans of either Gustafsson or the band that once was king. (Smalltown Supersound)