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Faktor "A"
(2020 - self release - USA)

Self described as "avant-garde improvisational music group", Random Faktor have made a hybrid of ambient, world, exotic, musique concrete, progressive rock, and jazz fusion album that weaves its magic throughout. This duo went into Glenn Fin's home studio 'The Audio Farm', in Winston Salem, North Carolina, got behind a mountain of instruments and made a shifting, well laid out and interesting collection of pieces, all live and improvised. No overdubs. The band also state this is "Music For The Soundtrack Of Your Mind." Recorded during October 2016 and August 2017, copyrighted in 2018, and released in early 2020.

Bill Smith plays fame drum, gong drum, gongs, Chinese cymbals, Indian bells, toy bells, elephant bells, RAV tongue drum, log drum, springs, Hadphoon, antique wrenches, Engelhart blossom bells, temple blocks, various rattles and shakers, Burma bells, hubcap, mixing bowls, devil chasers, Korg Wavedrum, Himalayan bowls, Dan Moi jaw harp, and spring drum. It may interest some that Bill played percussion on a couple of cuts on Kit Watkins 'Field of View' (2019) album and some percussion on Kit's 2006 release 'SkyZone'. He also has a digital EP of more music with Watkins at his site.

Glenn Fin plays guitars, synthesizer, sampler, Chapman Stick, daxophone, electric cello, circuit bent devices, piezo plank with attachments, Fintronics modified FX system, looping devices and electric non-auto harp. He also did the graphics for the album.

I've talked about quite a few recordings of total improv that felt and sounded all planned and composed. This one stands somewhere in the middle of that category. Often the music is together and harmonious, and sometimes the wandering happens to make you aware of the spontaneous reality of Faktor "A".  A look at all the different equipment the two play does give a notion of the array of textures, styles, and atmospheres that might be created. I heard many influences from early German electronic artists on OHR label, late 70's eastern gems like on Kuckuck  (thinking Deuter for sure), world fusion ambient music like on Extreme label, certainly a nod to percussionist Frank Perry, what the Russian band Der Finger are doing, and a kitchen sink of others. Maybe even a little Faust thrown in.

It would be easy to imagine this group playing live in a proper setting. No cell phones allowed. No denying Random Faktor are partly meditative, but that puts them in a thinking person's camp. That is a positive salute. The avant-garde styles blended in give them more dimension, and the two members are clearly skilled on their instruments. The next step could be a partly composed album, therefore combining the song oriented with the improvisations. Just a thought. Multiple listens will expand the intake of this recording,

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 24 - 2020

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