IF / OR (Auricle AMCDR 056) CDR

Escapade - if/or, artwork by Alan Freeman7.00 + p&p

1. IF / OR 43'55"

Live-to-DAT mix, recorded live at Kampo Cultural Center, NYC, Sept. 19, 1996.

Paul Casanova: guitar
John Ortega: synths & processed bass
Paul Hilzinger: synths, sampler, feedback generator
Joey Murphy: bass
Hadley Kahn: drums

One of the finest of trip-rock bands to emerge in the late 1990's, Escapade are an instrumental improv combo from New York, and this CD documents their very first live gig in the form of a single jam that trips from early Djam Karet realms via the Krautrock jams of early Ash Ra Tempel and Can, but with their own unique sound that also frazzles off into weird electronics, sizzling along with remarkable drums, guitars, etc. A classic slice of instrumental rock that really - as the American's say - "kicks ass!".

review from

Escapade - If / Or (Auricle Music)

"If / Or" is a single 45 minute track. It stands tall among it's spacerock contemporaries, such as Subarachnoid Space, Acid Mothers Temple and Kinski, as well as it's all powerful lodestar, Hawkwind. On this recording, Escapade proves themselves to be capable of drastic shifts in sound and style, never plodding along, unnecessarily drawing out a passage, sucking it of energy. Instead, the individual members seem to spread across the aural scape in much the same way they'd spread across the stage - with as much room as possible to move freely, unfettered. Wah-guitar based bombast, gentle ambience and all points between are accounted for here, and this is the most incredible part: this is a live recording of the band's VERY FIRST SHOW. On it's own this is a fine performance, but considering it's context, this is an utterly magical beginning.

Another review...

Since their beginnings in the 90's, Escapade has - between their "regular" albums - released a limited edition disc of free improv material, usually a live performance at some special event. The next "regular" Escapade disc will be 'But Distractions Abound', due out later this year. 'If / Or' is one of those special hardcore fan releases that comes between the regulars, but trust me, if you like what Escapade does - basically a free-wheeling psychedelic rock improv not unlike some early Ash Ra Tempel or Amon Duul II from the early 70's - then this release should not be missed. This single 44 minute improvisation was recorded live to DAT by the five-piece at SponCom '96 in NYC, and evolves through numerous phases effortlessly, first from spacy drone-like beginnings into driving swirling psychedelic rock through trippy jazz-tinged sections and effected blasts of brutal chaos, eventually moving into some positively explorative areas, interspersed with free-form hard rock jamming. As always, rock (or for that matter any kind of) improv can be hit or miss, but Escapade has that special telepathic gift for it, where they can just morph as they go with a single mind, and as such this long piece remains airborne for nearly all of its duration. The sound quality is excellent, and the performance easily meets or exceeds any of Escapade's "regular" releases. Track this one down, it's definitely worth the effort. - Peter Thelen