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Koln (1986)
Last Exit
Koln (1986)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Last Exit
Title: Koln (1986)
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 3/31/2009
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Pop, Rock
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 735286225228, 669910235362

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CD Reviews

Troy Collins | Lancaster, PA United States | 10/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Last Exit is renowned as one of the first "No-Wave" improvisational units to have emerged in the 1980s Downtown New York noise scene. An equitable blend of free jazz energy and can-do punk attitude, Last Exit was in their time the most fearsome of electric jazz ensembles and still a high water mark of the milieu. A mind-melting combination of talents, the group featured a who's-who of potential sonic mayhem.

Producer and electric bassist Bill Laswell joined forces with former harmolodic drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson to form the backbone of perhaps one of the most acerbic front-lines conceived; free jazz maverick guitarist Sonny Sharrock and certifiable madman Peter Brötzmann on tenor sax made for a pair that was more often out of control than in. Never performers to utilize written compositions, all of the quartet's performances were fully improvised.

"Köln" has been out-of-print for the last decade and is now part of Atavistic's Unheard Music Series reissue program. The disc benefits by being recorded through a 16 track mixer. Audience noise is perceptible occasionally but is buried so far in the mix that one might assume this is a studio record, albeit one with a somewhat thin sound.

The album opens with its longest cut, "Hard School," launching at a sub-atomic level with the entire band already in full manic flight: pounding drums, screaming tenor sax, waves of throbbing bass, and skronked-out guitar distortion. Peeling away the layers to reveal a tenor sax and drum duet no less intense than the previous blow-out, the quartet eventually regroups for another collective improvisation. Jackson sounds like the motivating factor here and keeps the endless momentum going with his pulsating fury. Brötzmann drops out later in the tune, allowing the strings a chance to trade off, with Sharrock taking out the tune with his trademarked "Blues from Hell"-styled slide guitar meltdown.

One of Jackson's typically primitive grunting blues lines opens "Brain Damage" before Brötzmann's train wreck tenor solo leads the rest of the band into sonic oblivion. And on and on it goes. "Last Call" briefly locks into an actual groove with a funky percolating shuffle and Laswell's bright ring-toned bass, with Sharrock's churning guitar shards sporadically scattered about, only to have the entire piece detonate with Brötzmann's bull in a china shop entrance.

Typical of their discography, this is not an album for the faint of heart. Last Exit laid the foundation for today's noise improv scene, from John Zorn's Naked City and Painkiller projects in the 1990s to current rock cross-over acts like Fantomas, the Ruins, and Melt-Banana. Without this foursome there would be no benchmark to measure one's success (or intensity) against. Last Exit was responsible for some of the most visceral improvised music of its time and still sounds unchallenged two decades on."
Brotzmann et al play the blues
Peter E. Johansen | 04/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Some time ago I heard about a group called Last Exit comprised of two of my favorite musicians - Peter Brotzmann and Sonny Sharrock. Brotzmann, who I think is sometimes unfairly maligned as playing extreme for the sake of extremism, is actually a dynamic player, sometime darkly melodic but certainly capable of fluidly bringing things to the level of Pharoah Sanders or Albert Ayler at their most intense. And then Sonny Sharrock, seemingly the perfect foil for Brotzmann, is hands-down the best Hendrix-inspired free jazz guitarist that I know of. So I've basically wnated to hear this for years.

Now that this is finally rereleased on CD by Atavistic and I actually get to hear it, did this live up to my very high expectations? To a degree. This would not be the place that I'd start with either Brotzmann or Sharrock. Everyone, Bill Laswell and Shannon Jackson included, sound like they are having a lot of fun at this concert, and of course "fun" is a relative term. I'm imagining that the German beer might have been freely available backstage. I don't see someone getting into this who doesn't have at least some appreciation for punk or heavy rock music, and I definitely hear a blues feel to several of the tunes, which I like a lot. For a live recording, the sound quality is excellent, and if nothing else this gives me hope that the other five or so Last Exit records will soon also be released on CD."
Blistering like fire to your face....awesome....
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Artists cannot be hampered by the restriction of taste. We're way beyond that". Sonny Sharrock, guitarist on this album.

My amazon friend Thomas recommended this band, as he knew I was a massive fan of Peter Brotzmann's Maching Gun Sessions. This album is as intense as that. Considering this album was made 20 years after the Machine Gun Sessions, and Brotzmann is still wailing like there's no tomorrow, it's incredible.

Here Brotzmann is part of a quartet that is more than capable of keeping up with him. Sonny Sharrock, the guitarist, is especially good, reminding me of Reggie Lucas and Pete Cosey during their time with Miles Davis during his 1972-1975 period. Sharrock sounds almost like he could have played on Dark Magus, arguably my favorite album by Davis from that period. The best track is the epic Hard School, running a blistering 19 minutes. It starts off insanely and rarely lets up. Brotzmann and Sharrock are really dueling here, and dueling brilliantly. There are times I think Brotzmann will blow one of his lungs out. The other tracks are more conventionally short, but still as intense as Hard School. This album is amazing.

After listening to the Machine Gun Sessions, pop this one in. Keep repeating until your ears bleed or your neighbors call the cops. Brotzmann is one of the best of the free jazzers, ever. He's worth alienating your friends over.