Writer and Filmmaker Philip Mullarkey needed some musicians to play live for one of his art/film projects. Wisely, it seems, he chose four musicians capable of understanding what he was looking for, and were able to do some stunning on the spot improvised work.
Calling themselves Box, the band consists of members who at various times have been part of Scorch Trio, John Zorn, Zappa?s Universe, Supersilent, among other projects. ?Studio 1? is a collection of those improvs, which build off of the band?s prior experience and new challenge.
The tracks themselves run the gamut from drone and hyper-jazz quotes, to Zappa/Beefheart-esque long guitar passages that blend in a variety of styles. On these workouts, guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim keyboardist Stale Storlokken and star. Yet the true heroes of these freeform gems are bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Morgan Agren.
Given the power and whimsy of the jams on ?Studio 1,? I?m sure Mullarkey was pleased.
Box manages to lock into each other?s ideas with joy and, given the context, shocking precision. It would be interesting to hear this music in the context of its intended purpose; it certainly can stand on its own as well. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (29 January, 2008)