Mike McLatchey 18-September-2002 Brainstorm

1982 was a rather strange year to be working with progressive rock in the United States, or, if anything, stranger than most others. Ixt Adux were a guitar-led combo from Los Angeles who managed to get one album off in an era where the closest thing to an American prog band was the reformed King Crimson. And Discipline-era Crimson is not really a bad comparison in terms of the prevalent and complex guitar work, but another inspiration would have to be that of Frank Zappa, a name that always comes up when a humorous quotient is detected in the music. For the most part, the music of Ixt Adux over the five tracks that make up Brainstorm is a pretty complicated affair, with lots of rhythmically changing melodic lines and plenty of dynamics between jagged, harder rocking and softer, introspective parts. The guitar playing is generally excellent in all numbers of styles, backed up by a solid bass and drums rhythm section, including Frippish dissonant runs, chord picking, and soloing. Perhaps the only drawbacks to the sound are the unavoidable poor production available to such an independent and the resulting lack of tonal variation on the guitars. While the latter is mitigated by the sheer profusion of excellent playing, the former has to be taken as more indicative of the poor state of innovative music at this point in the 80s regardless of how much a detraction it seems now. Warts and all, this is a worthy release, particularly for the time.

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