Zerx Records & Press


GCE Reviews

ZERX 024
( Al Faaet - drums, framedrum, percussion…..
J.A. Deane - trombone/electronics, standing waves, bass flute )


The accompanying photocopy promo relates a story of Albuquerque NM DJ Mark Weber who was told to "shove [this record] up your ass!" when he played it on KUNM. Funny, the folks I met when travelling through New Mexico some years back were quite peace-loving, adobe characters. Then again, one blast of "Grand Cross Eclipse" might just be enough to set those aptly named Sangre de Christo Mountains bleeding for real. The aim of the two musicians is to create a "large ensemble sound" by superimposing myriad electronic effects on the feedback generated from their instruments, and the overall sound created is as immense and at times intimidating as the desert landscape these guys inhabit. Make no mistake, you can't come up with music like this if you live in a teeming urban jungle, this music belongs out there in the desert with Walter de Maria's amazing "Lightning Field" installation. It's as vast and mind blowing as a Robert Wilson theatre epic. Deane admits he doesn't play "more than a handful of actual trombone notes" (shame, because he's a damn fine player: check out "Burning Cloud" on FMP, and, if you're really nostalgic for New Wave, the old 1981 Indoor Life album on Celluloid). Music as epic as this should be blasted on a speaker system surrounded by two billion year old rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Magnificent stuff.
(Paris Transatlantic…..France)

Deane and Faaet are quick to point out that their album Grand Cross Eclipse is not electronic music, but instead is music played on electronic instruments. The differentiation is substantial, in that it is a creative human endeavor and not the simple output of a mechanical gadget. They reach an orbital speed that encircles far-off galaxies on most of the six selections. Although they produce a cacophonous symphony of unearthly tones, none of it is overdubbed. It all originates and is controlled by the musicians. Faaet is a multi-faceted drummer providing a baseline of explosive propulsion. He is diverse and demonstrative in fueling the rocket ship. Deane inter-relates with himself as well as Faaet as he presents contrasts in styles with both acoustic passages and interactive electronics. It all comes together in a kaleidoscope of supernatural sounds that have a definable beat and continuous flow to make it very appealing. Faaet said “This CD will be, for many, impenetrable” Now, if that isn’t a challenge to free-minded listeners, what is?
(Cadence The Review of Creative Improvised Music…..United States)


Faaet and Deane make loud, highly-focussed music. Despite the way it looks on paper, don't be fooled by this duet of drums and trombone, the electronics are what define this record and form the big block of sound which these pieces tend to be carved from. The sounds are generally of the sort heard in sci-fi films as atmospherics, but Deane piles them up and forces them to rub against one another, creating richly-textured sounds which Faaet's percussion can give shape to.
One does get respite from the big sounds, of course, on "Zeropoint Chamber" Deane proves himself a capable flautist while Faaet lays down a groove with bells and a framedrum, and the electronics take a more filtered, less domineering role. Even at their loudest and most frenetic, however, these guys sound as if they're in no hurry, as if the whole fifty minutes is the soundtrack to a single establishing shot at the start of a film. There's a delicious paradox here when things heat up and the music becomes funky, loud and aggressive, it somehow never loses that slowness at its heart.
This is a record of rare pleasures, with bits you could even dance to. A throbbing, low-slung kind of cool radiates from it; it is hot and cool at the same time, urban and rural, minimal and maximal.
(Musings The Archive…..England)


Every once and awhile, a disk comes along that is at once so compelling and yet so tantalizingly uncategorizable, that it simply makes it’s presence felt on it’s own terms. Grand Cross Eclipse is just such a disk.
Al Faaet and J.A. Deane have tossed this gem out with little fanfare and no pretension. On GCE, dense, inscrutable textures, shifting and transforming into pulsing, burbling streams of sounds, move through a weird concoction of free jazz and Jimi Hendrix like free form noise. All this with the kind of focus, brevity, and concision that much of today’s “outside” music sadly lacks. It’s impossible to put your finger on what this music actually is, which is why it’s so compelling. Clearly, it’s related to the more experimental popular music of the last four decades, yet it retains an identity all it’s own. It’s fifty minutes of pure, visceral immersion into tambour, that elusive yet completely obvious aspect of musical texture that seems so neglected, in comparison, by modern pop and jazz. Which is not to say that this is either pop or jazz. Which is emphatically to say that, whatever you call it, it’s forceful, seductive, intelligent, and relentless in it’s pursuit of a sheer aural experience. If all this makes Grand Cross sound thorny and uninviting, don’t believe it for a second. It may not have the reassuring features of your usual musical landscape, but it’s stark and rugged beauty embodies integrity and self-assurance that will reward any but the most timid and misguided listener.
(Thirsty Ear Magazine…..United States)

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