OP "Q" May/June 1983 342w

Metalanguage Records Metalanguage; from the Greek "meta" meaning after, and the familiar Gallic "language," or speech. Also a record company whose products do indeed leave listeners speechless on a remarkably regular basis. Language fails to describe the subtleties and complexities of most Metalanguage records; each successive release leaves listeners and critics gasping and grasping for ever more outre expressions of praise and astonishment.

Founded in 1978 by the Rova Saxophone Quartet's Larry Ochs and avant-guitarist Henry Kaiser, Metalanguage has dealt primarily with inhouse projects; three Rova LP's, three Kaiser LP's a Rova/Kaiser collaboration, a Kaiser/Fred Frith guitar spectacular, and a two-volume set documenting the 1980 Metalanguage Festival of Improvised Music featuring Rova, Kaiser, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Toshinori Kondo, and Greg Goodman.

Particularly recommended of these are As Was (Rova) and Aloha (Kaiser), both master works that more or less sum up and extend the instrumental explorations that came before them. Also interesting are wind-instrument specialist Jim French's If Looks Could Kill, which introduces the garish, but completely otherworldly, vocals of the exotic Diamanda Galas, and the Derek Bailey/Christine Jeffrey duet, A View From Six Windows.

Metalanguage has also formed an alliance with pianist Greg Goodman's Beak Doctor label; that has produced three albums of Goodman's piano solo, an Evan Parker/Goodman collaboration, and an absolutely stunning recording of an Evan Parker solo recital, At the Finger Palace.

All of the artists recording on Metalanguage share a common interest in freely improvised music; most also explore modern compositional techniques. But what really seems to tie them together is a collective sense of honesty in music; rarely, if ever, will you find a phony note or a forced emotion on a Metalanguage record.

Their musicians clearly see music as a forum for intense and unusual emotional communications, messages that cannot be expressed in any other form except for, perhaps, telepathy. Mind-to-mind contact is their goal, and usually they succeed. Write: 2i639(?jh) Russell St., Berkeley, CA 94705 -- Alex Varty, Vancouver

Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-12-95