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Updated: Jul 25, 2023

This is the third live PAKT album and they are; PERCY JONES: bassist extraordinary. Most famously with BRAND X, but he also appears on many of BRIAN ENO’s albums and as a much in-demand session player; ALEX SKOCNICK: guitar and electronics; KENNY GROHOWSKI: drums. metals and percussion,; TIM MOTLER: acoustic /electric/baritone guitars, bow, electronics. It follows two others, live in 2021 and last year’s live in Buffalo set.

It is released on MOON JUNE RECORDS for whom I have been reviewing for many years, discovering many great things, and PAKT is the latest of a long line of Moon June albums that has caught my ear. The label’s credo is “Progressive Music Exploring and Expanding the Boundaries of Jazz, Rock, Avant, the Ethno, The Unknown and Anything in Between and Beyond” (The Link is on this website) so if you are looking for instant musical gratification, PAKT’s album will possibly not fit the bill: think of it as more in JAZZ terms, as one the experimental, avant-garde side of the street.

I am going to start in the middle with ‘Ascent Southwest 6 ‘which starts with a shipping forecast – the strange sounds at its beginning are presumable made by tapping guitar strings with leads or perhaps fingers or even coins: anticipation builds and sure enough an enchanting melody emerges based on a slow and deliberate repetition of a quartet of guitar chords; Jones showing all the dexterity and a memorable bass riff that will satisfy connoisseurs of great bassists like JACO PASTORIUS (Sorry, I had to mention him!). The Turning Point’ is just good, typical of the length of tracks clocking in it around the 16/ 17 minute mark, and I also really enjoyed some of the interplay on ‘Pressure Level’, the third track by which time the band had really got into top gear.

There is a slight change for the last two tracks: more of an exotic eastern touch on ‘Swamp Church’ (You can find out just how much impact the metals and a baritone guitar have here and Percy’s bass is probing and inventive throughout of course, backed by an empathic drummer who really fulfils a lead part in a very democratic and spontaneous outfit; the other ‘Sirens’ brings the set to a close with some atomic KING CRIMSON-like action – you can imagine Fripp himself conducting the orchestra!

All in all for $8 for a download this is pretty good value for a whole concert. You may have doubts at first, but hitch up for the ride and you may enjoy the immersive experience as much as I did.

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