"If Paul Metzger's last album Deliverance evinced his yearning to free the banjo from the shackles of convention, Gedanken Splitter shows what comes after the chains hit the earth. To get to this point, the St Paul, Minnesota based musician has taken a circuitous route through Duck Baker inspired acoustic fingerpicking, jazz standards, punk rock, electric lmprov and years of solitary experimentation that focused as much upon his instruments as what he played with them. Most of his recent records, including this one, feature a banjo customized with a 12-string guitar head and additional strings splayed across the top half of its body; at last count they total 24. On Deliverance the unfolding progression and abraded drones of his long, structured improvisations posited a third dimension situated between the Cumberland Gap and the Khyber Pass, and "Geschenk", the relatively brief opening track on Gedanken Splitter, starts out in similar territory. Played with a bow, his banjo yields the sort of sounds you'd expect from a sarangi or esraj, but with a deeper, coarser resonance that shudders with tension. That tautness breaks with the first strum of "Zugentgleisung"; from there the music twists and shudders,making leaps as vertigo-defying as a tree-born primate on the swing. The sidelong title track is even more dizzying, alternating between breakneck variations on a series of arpeggios and brutally hacked leaps into Derek Bailey territory. The binding forces are the intensity and control of Metzger's attack, which is unmatched in the new American Primitive camp."
"Multi-instrumentalist Elaine Evans explores freeform improvisation
with varied wind, string, and percussion instruments. Elaine’s current
direction is improvisations with pocket trumpet and loop pedal,
layering harmonies, dissonances, and rhythms. Elaine toured Europe
with her trumpet and loop pedal in 2008. Elaine is a founding member
of the International Novelty Gamelan, a group using the undeniable
soul and approach of ancient Javanese musical tradition to create new,
modern works of startling beauty and originality. Elaine composes for
the group in addition to performing."
"A lot of crazy shit can happen to a man when he goes solitary in a ramshackle Catskill Mountain home for an extended stretch of time-especially for a city kind of guy. But if Amen Dunes's 12 tracker Dia is one possible outcome of the guy alone-in-a-cabin- story, then a little tape saturated brain frying is something we should all live comfortably with because this is a batch of seriously raw & inspired loner psych grit that owes a debt to the diy soundz of the George Brigman s of the world.
That was 2006. These days the lone wolf behind Amen Dunes -Damon McMahon calls a small two room apartment overlooking the Temple of Earth in North-Central Beijing home, where he watches old men fly kites and sing opera every morning. Who knows what'll come out of that." (Locust Records)