Eli Keszler
Catching Net

Pan

Installations - Compositions. That hyphen is important. Eli Keszler’s pieces represented here aren’t one or the other, but chimera blends of the seemingly disparate experimental music practices. The first disc features both of sides of Cold Pin (the previously released PAN LP) complimented by an unreleased live recording featuring the same unit as the vinyl tracks. Altering between sections of extended resonance and chaotic precision, the three variations on this piece highlight Keszler’s extensive range at its schizophrenic finest. The second disc begins with Catching Net, the first few minutes of which could easily be mistaken for some vintage Nonesuch rarity. Backed by a string quartet this time, the piece is a bit more reigned in at first, but eventually unfolds and reveals the Keszler-isms lurking beneath the surface. From there, the collection is rounded out by two unaccompanied installation pieces, Cold Pin playing itself and Collecting Basin, a long string construction in Louisiana. If you are new to Keszler’s work, this is a great introduction. And if you already happen to have the Cold Pin LP, there is still more than enough new and unique material here to satisfy. - Mike Shiflet, Experimedia

Joe McPhee / Eli Keszler Duo
Ithaca

8mm

Eli Keszler has been one incredibly busy guy over the last few years.  From his various solo outings and installations to his collaborations as Red Horse and Aster (not to mention his label, REL), he’s never one to rest on those laurels.  Straight from Italy’s criminally underappreciated 8mm label comes this new collaborative record with Saxophonist extraordinaire, Joe McPhee.  The label accurately describes this as a missing link between the tradition of free jazz and current explorations in sound art.  Keszler’s free-flowing, bombastic clatter is the perfect foil for McPhee’s trademark wails.  It has to be kind of intimidating to work with a legend like McPhee, but Keszler steps up to the plate and absolutely nails it.  Alternating between push-it-to-11, scattershot insanity to stripped-to-bone minimalist whispers, and everything in between, “Ithaca” covers a lot of ground.  This is dynamic music, searching out boundaries that need nothing else but to be destroyed.  McPhee is simply amazing, blasting through walls with such sonic force that I’d be okay if my ear drums crumbled under the pressure.  This is one hell of an LP, missing link or not.  - Brad Rose

Eli Keszler / Keith Fullerton Whitman
Split

(NNA Tapes)

 Experimental percussion master Eli Keszler teams with Keith Fullerton Whitman, wielding what sounds like a mammoth Modular Synth setup, for a split LP on NNA. At first this may seem like an odd pairing, but both musicians draw from the same musical language, albeit at different angles. The general focus is on flurries of staccato chaos — or controlled chaos — a swarm of synth, drum, and “Micro-Controller Metal Plates” that is balanced by the calm, understated eeriness of Keszler’s “Cymbal, Bass Drum, Clarinet” track. Whitman’s side is more relentless; a 17-minute freak out that, through its sheer dexterity, recalls minimal shredders like Orthrelm or cosmic free-jazz. Really, it’s just a fine display of the synthesizer’s capabilities when pushed to the edge by a savvy handler. The standout for me, though, is the brief “Drums, Crotales, Installed Motors, Micro-Controller Metal Plates,” which unifies a shrill metallic buzzing with precisely orchestrated drum clatter. That may sound like a contradiction, but the piece is deceptive like that. It drifts between the aforementioned staccato chaos and finely layered rhythms; just when you think it might lose control, Keszler dramatically pauses or plays a familiar rhythmic pattern, making clear the tension between composition and improvisation that pervades most of this record. – Keith Rankin, Experimedia