Sandra Seymour, Fred Frith,
and Lee Ranaldo
photo by Thi-Linh Le
"'Creole Mass' is a modern record that echoes a tradition. Few traditional instruments are used, yet it vividy expresses the spirit and poetry of South America's Spanish and Indian heritage. On some tracks, the recording studio is employed as a potent tool to support a Guarani Indian lament, sung alongside a narration in the style of an Argentine vidala. At other times, the music sounds like a rock band, yet displaying few of the usual references to structure and texture. The departures on this record from the predominant styles of rock music mirror engineer/producer Martin Bisi's extensive history of work with many of the musicians and groups on New York's cutting edge.
Sandra Seymour creates an interweaving of beautifully compelling and magical guitar and bass textures. Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo blends forceful, over-driven guitar with dense computer-generated rhythms and machine textures on Martin's cover of Pink Floyd's "Money". Fred Frith contributes some gutsy American folk guitar, as well as evocative fiddle, on the album's second cover, Hank Williams' "Kaw Liga".
Beginning as an original co-producer in Material, Martin Bisi's B.C. Studio in Brooklyn has been the home for hundreds of records since 1980, starting with Brian Eno's 'On Land' and rocking through Herbie Hancock's 'Rockit' with Bill Laswell, Anton Fier's self-titled Golden Palominos, Arto Lindsay's Ambitious Lovers 'Envy' , Fred Frith's productions of Massacre and V-Effect, Sonic Youth's 'Bad Moon Rising' and 'Evol' , not to mention many records by John Zorn, Live Skull, Elliott Sharp, Motherhead Bug, Mofungo, Foetus, Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Helmet, Lydia Lunch, Boredoms, Rhys Chatham, as well as ground-breaking work on early rap records on the Celluloid label by D St., Afrika Bambaata and Fab Five Freddie. Recent releases include Michael Gira's Angels of Light, Jane Jensen, Dresden Dolls, Ex-Models, Dirt, and the End Credits.