Small 32

Pelt: Rob's Choice

Following on the wake of their trilogy of amazing CD's (Techeod, For Michael Hannas, and last year's Empty Bell Ringing In the Sky) comes the latest album from Pelt. Rob's Choice consists of two live performances from their 1998 tour, released at the last minute before the Summer 2000 tour.

Originally slated as a CD-R release, Rob's Choice features Charalambides guitarist Tom Carter on saxophone. "Empty Bell Ringing in the Sky" numbers 3 and 4 comprise this disc, and unlike the peaceful resonance found in numbers 1 and 2 (on the album of the same name), these versions are much darker and malicious.

The piece is obviously very open to improvisation, as number 3 sounds nothing like last year's album, though number 4 is recognizable. This is a fairly complex album, and the recording is very good, so there's a lot to get lost in here. The soundscapes are scary and possibly evil; "Empty Bell" #4 begins on a mellow note but quickly builds to a much more malevolent world as the sound swirls and the pulse quickens.

If Empty Bell (the album) is a trip to a higher spiritual plane, than Rob's Choice takes you to the underworld on the same vehicle. Pelt never fail to impress me, and while this album doesn't share the purity of last year's record, it is a very solid disc--in my opinion as worthy as Max Meadows or even Techeod.

-- John Fail, Fakejazz