A one-off Minneapolis supergroup including the Skye Klad/Salamander rhythm section of bassist (and head Mutant) Dave Onnen and drummer Matt Zaun, along with Ousia guitarist Paul Horn (Onnen?s also Ousia?s bassist), this is a groovy, jazzy, finger-poppin? collection of instrumentals with obvious signposts pointing at Ennio Morricone?s spaghetti western soundtracks (his 1970 theme from ??Vamos A Matar, Compa?eros!? is covered to good effect here), Tarentel and other instrumental post rockers such as Paul Newman, Tortoise and Calexico.
Funky jazz licks intersect with Mike Croswell?s bluesy harmonica wail on ?Dusty?s Gift,? and the sound opens up considerably on the languid, expansive, perfectly titled ?Montana,? driven by Croswell?s snakecharming accordian. Horn?s s-wah-wah-mpadelic, ?big? guitar sound on ?Tolex Remnants? could have been titled ?DE2? (i.e., Dave Edmunds plays Duane Eddy) and the shuffling, slight-of-foot ?North Star,? again featuring snappy fills from Zaun (who?s brilliant throughout) will have those Lake Michigan surfers waxing their sticks and heading out in their woodies. Cowabunga!
You won?t have to strap on your chaps and gunbelts to enjoy ?Almagordo Snake,? which would make a cool theme to a 21st century remakeof ?Bonanza,? but it sure wouldn?t hurt. The songs tend to wander off the beaten path a bit towards the end, but for the most part, there?s over a 101 uses for great instrumental music such as this, from DJ ?beds? and cinematic soundtracks, to roaming with buffalo and playing with deer and antelope, to bailing hay and digging into those chores down on the farm. So pick yourself up a copy, sprinkle liberally with prairie dust and invent one of your own. 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (25 May, 2005)