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Gary Verkade/Steve Nelson-Raney - Improvisations For Organ And Saxophone

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Artist: Gary Verkade/Steve Nelson-Raney

Album: Improvisations For Organ And Saxophone

Label: Penumbra

Review date: Jun. 30, 2002

One time and one time only, Gary Verkade bellied up to the king of instruments and Steve Nelson-Raney jumped in on the soprano and sopranino saxes to create this collection of roomy, ticklish meditations, and the growing “experimental” label Penumbra bottled it up and issued 300 copies. What to say, what to say.

Suppose your case of mono gets so bad that you’re forced into the infirmary chapel to plead with whatever you believe in to release the loathsome fluid from inside your skull and restore your sense of balance. It ain’t happening. You’ve got something like two and a half weeks left to go. Some other kid is there, practicing on the organ. Big John Cage fan. His barely-there drones sound a lot more eerie than majestic, and the fact that your hearing’s shot makes it even more distant. No real cerebral connection, just creepy, Lynchian atmosphere. And how the fuck did these supper flies get in here? Every few seconds, one zooms over your head or zigzags flirtatiously around your ear, maybe buzzing around in the mouth of your auditory canal for awhile before it gets too excited for confinement and takes off for the other side of the sanctuary. Other than that, it’s quiet enough to hear dinosaur ghosts lumber through the room. Quiet enough to hear your pulse. To hear your life ticking away.

Improvisations For Organ And Saxophone might be the most profoundly, thrillingly uncomfortable background music of 2K2. If in vino, veritas, then, in delusional sickness, inspiration.

By Emerson Dameron

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