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Review

Various artists

Knots

Knots is another of WMO/Thousand's attempts at crossing tribute, experimentation, concept and reinterpretation. An identical sample disc from a definite '70s prog-rock source was given to thirteen US-based artists to do with as they saw fit. So far, so dugga, but does it work?

Well, as one might expect, there is quite a bit of variety here, both in terms of content and quality. Obvious stand-outs are the typically groovy vibes of Legion of Green Men, with echoey organs fluctuating at the back of the mix, and the chilled ambient rock take by Thermal, which is quite beautiful in its execution. Kid606 adds a playful dancefloor piece and seems to have taken a bite out of the g-Man sandwich before moving the piece to more scattershot gun-like rhythms and sparse, grating lead noises. Chuck Miller's attempt to be Aphex Twin with the noisy, distorted 1k Mix is also worthy of attention, as is the playful reversed-sample fest of Blectum from Blechdom.

That takes us through about two-thirds of the album. The bulk of the remaining pieces are mediocre rock or jazz-tinged pieces. This serves to highlight the fact that the more directly 'electronic' takes work best (those that have stripped almost all vestige of the original, at least in terms of how it was played).

As with Dugga Dugga Dugga this album could be seen as pretentious but still retains a playfulness due to some of the artists having fun mangling a 'classic'. Again, it's pretty interesting to see just how different interpretations of the same source can be. It also serves to highlight the changes in music that have been made over the past thirty years; the majority of this album was played in the '70s, yet created in 1999, proving once again that tying knots in music and composition can often create interesting results.

Craig Grannell (February, 2000)

Cover artwork