“Thirty Thirty” is already the third collaboration of Greg Davis and Steven Hess after one live CD-R on Davis’ own Autumn Records label and a CD on Longbox Recordings. Italy’s Presto?! label brings us their third which is not easily accessible at all. It’s another live recording, this time from 2005 and recorded at Chicago’s 30/30. Steven Hess, an experimental percussionist from Chicago, and Greg Davis on electronics improvise in a way that contrasts louder passages with softer ones and staccato tones with continuing drones. That is okay to listen to here and there, but overall it’s pretty boring.
In some ways, the output of Greg Davis can be compared to that of Jim O’Rourke. Both had their pop releases (the three albums and one EP on Drag City for Jim O’Rourke and “Arbor” and “Curling Pond Woods” for Greg Davis) and also their fair share of experimental to avantgarde recordings. For both, I like the accessible ones much better than the others. The same goes for “Thirty Thirty”. The problem with it is really that you cannot even tell who recorded it. At least for someone who is not deeply embedded into the whole electronic improv scene, one could also think that it’s by someone on Cut Records or on Crouton or Cronica or any other avantgarde electronics label. On the other hand, when listening to Greg Davis’ Carpark releases, you could easily tell who recorded them.
It may be that the Italian Presto?! label was a fan of the CD-R on Autumn Records which was also recorded live in Chicago. Maybe, the label owner attended that concert and desperately wanted to release “Thirty Thirty”. But quite honestly, it’s a CD that will find its way into my CD player only once for reviewing it and probably never again afterwards. 4/10 -- Stephan Bauer (12 February, 2009)