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August 02, 1983 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1983-08-02

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, August 2, 1983 - Page 11
Inserts crawl 'Out of the Box'

The Inserts - 'Out of the Box'
(Nozzle Records)
The Inserts. You say you haven't
heard of them, well you've missed
something very special. Ann Arbor fans
of jazz and electronic music have had
very little to look forward to, but now
that's changing. For Richard Isgrigg
and the Inserts it's been a long fight to
"get out of the box." When you play
strictly improvisational music in a
community and age dominated by
highly structured, recognizable dance
music, you have to scratch for
everything.
The group's members, Richard
Isgrigg, Tom Cranor, Mark Murrell
and Sam Simon have devoted time,
love, grey matter and money to get
their music out. Their first LP, Out of
the Box, is now on sale and the wait was
well worth it. For an independently
produced LP, it's one of a kind. The disk
was pressed in Japan by JVC and the
cover features art by Cal Schenkel, it's
a very professional package.
Side one has three pieces opening
with the title cut "Out of the Box." This
one will immediately give you an idea
of what the Inserts are about. With an
opening reminiscent of Miles Davis, a
repeated guitar riff over Richard's
Rhodes, this one sticks to time but
players are free to stretch out and
return to base. Richard told me, "That
was originally to be later in the album
but we wanted something to grab the
listener."
The next tune, "Fogbank," is much
less dense. It sounds like it could have

come out of the ECM stable, with Terje
Rypdal like guitars and synthesizers
coming up from the abyss. Richard
comments, "It's very swirly and open,
it has more space. It's not so dense.
There's an area to let things roll around
into the acoustics of the room."
Side one closes with "Space Mambo,"
a call and response keyboard and
guitar sequence which builds to an ex-
citing climax. Isgrigg again comments,
"That's me on the Rhodes piano. The
guitar part, that's pretty impressive. I
couldn't do that, that's Tom. It's a very
busy tune."
Side two has only one piece, "The
Bending World." It opens with what
sounds like a Miles organ riff from the
Agarta LP. Rich says it's a Roland
guitar synth/guitar with another
Roland guitar synth/guitar underlying
it. "It's a long piece. It takes a while to
develop, it goes up and down." That is
the crux of the piece, to build on a motif.
It's slower paced than the rest of the
LP, but the rewards are as great. After
a brief interval the theme is returned
and the last few minutes reveal just
how it ties back up.
When I asked Richard about Miles as
an influence he had of course listened
and was a devoted fan, but he made
sure to make this point: "We never in-
tended to copy anyone, but we intrin-
sically use some of the same methods
that people who play this music use,
hence the similarities. Guys that play
from freeline ultimately play in a
somewhat similar vein because they
believe in the same things." That is the
best definition of "out of the box," to

'Out of the Box,' a brand new Japanese pressing, is the most recent creative
effort from The Inserts.

break away from convention and take
chances. You are always in a concep-
tual box, but the Inserts are breaking
out and making a new frame of
reference, as Miles Davis has done for
years.

Records

Various Artists -
L.A. Rockabilly
(Rockin Rhino Records)
Right down to the imitation Sun
Records label and dedication to Carl
Perkins, Elvis Presley, Arthur Crudup,
The Burnette Trio, Billy Lee Riley,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and Ray
Campi on the cover, this album is real
rockabilly for the '80s.
The original Sun Records sound is
there; jangling guitars, slap basses,
stroking drums, an occasional rockin'
sax or piano, and sometimes "sparse"
production. The classic subjects are
there; dancing, dating, cruising,
loving, and rocking. Most of all, though,
the spirit and energy is there. These
bands have an edge, and they play the
music with the same sharp enthusiasm
that the old rockabillies had.
Most of the songs are originals, but
they don't neccesarilly sound like it.
The outstanding cuts come from the
two groups on the album with women in
them, something you probably wouldn't
have found in the old days of rockabilly.
"Tearin' My Hair Out" by the Red
Devils is the rockingest song on the
album. Emy Lee's burning vocals and
the, song's simple quickness make it
that way. Put the Red Devil's singer in
a league with Lorrie Collins.
Keith Joe Dick and the Goners get a
lot of fun hiccupping inflections, baby-

baby falsettos, cool cat growls and
tempo changes into "Cadillac Cruisin"
(not to mention great sociological
statements of style - This Eldorado
ragtop with the Continental boot, it's
raised and it's low and it's shiny as
my shoes, it's Salmon pink and you
say you think it should be blue.Dixie
Lee Wilson on bass and Dianne "Boom
Boom" Dickstein on drums are the
female Goners.
The Paladins don't have women in
their group, but "Double Datin' " with
two in front and two in back, all its
fast talk and mention of " 'Be Bop A
Lula' on the radio" is almost as cool as
the previously mentioned cuts.
Then of course, a couple of the songs
on L.A. Rockabilly aren't originals. Lit-
tle Richard's "She's Got It" is done
fairly well, and Dave Alvin of The
Blasters doctors up an old Cajun in-
strumental into " Rockin Lafayette."
Three of the bands on the album have
direct rockabilly connections. Dino Lee
Bird of the Whirlybirds covers a song
written by his father; "Green Green
Women.", The old Gene Vincent tune
"Say Mama" is recorded here by John-

>ny Meeks, an ex-Blue Cap - he was the
one who wrote it for Vincent in the first
place. Another Gene Vincent alumnus,
guitarist for X Billy Zoom, is also
featured on L.A. Rockabilly. Hear Billy
actually opens up and sings on "Crazy
Crazy Lovin'."
"Rockabilly is now dominating LA's
music scene," said the press release,
and while these LA rockabillies aren't
the innovators that the original com-
biners of gospel, blues, and roots early
rock were, they sure can work well with
the end results'of those combinations;
looks like they've got the spirit and
energy, too.
L.A Rockabilly is a fine compilation
of fine fine music. - Joe Hoppe

"Out of the Box is like a horse race.
We've just started but we're out of the
box now." For music's sake, let's hope
they finish, and my bet is that they win,
place and show.
- Jay Dorrance
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