GHIDRA [BILL HORIST/WALLY SHOUP/MIKE PETERSON] - TheSound Of Speed (Sol Disk 5703; USA) Featuring BillHorist on guitar, Wally Shoup on alto sax and Mike Peterson on drums.
This is dynamic power/improv trio where each member comes from a different background.
Bill Horist is an amazing, creative free/noise electric guitarist who doesn't sound like anyone else. He has worked with Eyvind Kang & William Hooker, KK Null and the Secret Chiefs folks. Wally Shoup is one of the best alto saxists from the Pacific northwest and has worked with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty and Nels Cline. Mike Peterson has played with The Accused and is considered to be one of Seattle's best drummers.
This disc is highly creative and mostly intense free/noise fest. What I dig about Horist is that he often makes sounds that are completely twisted and not that guitar-like. Both he and Wally Shoup work quite well together at blending their bent tones together into one great sonic fragment. Their drummer is also an appropriate choice as he is equally diverse and creative.
Although much of this is "free", this trio is tight and spin their fury together extremely well. Horist seems to come from a free/rock background and often creates some great bent/rock melodies that help this trio to connect and play something like a song. On a few of these pieces the trio lay back and play some restrained noise/rock/jazz whatever. The guitar and drums often play incredibly well together, as if they have been doing it for years, and perhaps they have. Wally Shoup's strong alto sax always seems to fit in just right in the stormier sections as well as the more restrained sections.
This music is successful since it is its own unique hybrid of different connected streams and each member gives it direction at different times. Rock/jazz/free/noise, it doesn't really matter what you call it, it does work and it is consistently engaging and powerfully performed.
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, New York City, November 2007
Ghidra - THE SOUND OF SPEED
It's been some time since my ears got a chance to gorge on more methedrine-like madness from this trio... let's see, their first album was "Strawberry Skinflint", which we had the pleasure of reviewing in issue # 68. As I said there, there's a "punk" kind of edge to this trio's playing, maybe a kind of "punk improv" (if there is such a thing). The most poignant track (I thought) was # 2, "Halogen Blue"... cascade after cascade of sound, each player in their own "lightspeed zone", especially true for Horist's guitar playing... but, you'll also hear wild improvisations from Wally Shoup's alto sax, & penetrating drum work from Mike Peterson. If this highly talented trio can't "whomp" Godzilla with some of their sonic smashing, the world is lost, to be sure. "The Sound Of Speed" has some distinct compositional tendencies towards the Zappian, but in the end-run, it's pure Ghidra, pure improv, & loads of fun for your ears that will transport you to the edges of your universal reality - & if you're lucky - back, too. For those who love improvised music, this CD gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - if you've not been initiated into the joys of freely played music, this is an excellent place to start.
Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation #79, January 2008
Shoup raises his shiny pate again for The Sound of Speed CD by Ghidra (Sol Disk). Another trio, this one features Bill Horist's guitar and Mike Peterson's drums. Sound is their second release, and it's a great combination of Beefheart-damaged psych-noise string energy, intensely focused percussion scrums, and Wally's anticly keening sax-work. Nicer work, Shoup don't do.
Byron Coley, Arthur Magazine, April 2008
GHIDRA - The Sound of Speed (Sol Disk)
Arrived at their second CD on this label after "Strawberry Skinflint", Ghidra rekindle a stagnating evening with lightning attacks, hitting the audience with a solid punch to the liver under the guise of an improvising power trio which could rival the first version of Massacre (Frith, Laswell, Maher) with saxophonist Wally Shoup emitting competent cries and barbaric howls in lieu of the bass. The other members are guitarist Bill Horist - who can appear both a unique specimen and an imitator at the same time, given a schizophrenic sonic personality that brings him to play loquacious nonsense and Frisell-esque chordal swells in the space of thirty seconds - and drummer Mike Peterson, a punkish scrambler whose scratch-card style would make many "names" envious, the veritable motor behind the flexible bedlam generated by the unit. Having already quoted another famous group, you've been warned about the places where Ghidra are going to take you: technical command and velocity, extreme bombast and sudden rallentando just to let us breathe a little bit before plunging again into the refractive angularity of this music. Shoup's will to emphasize and corroborate Horist's playing makes for an awful lot of mortal combat exchanges, the sharpened blades of irrepressible anarchy ready to cut through the butter of self-complacence. No scumbled contours in this recording, only that kind of bright creativity needed for a substantial confrontation with the incipient decline.
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, July 2008, Italy
Ghidra: "The Sound of Speed"
The introductory roaring explosion of screaming Saxophone, infernal Double Bass Drum rolls and aggressively howling Guitar noise, which precedes the pieces of "The Sound of Speed", is enough to send your pulse soaring to decidedly unhealthy levels. Ghidra are a trio of Bill Horist, Mike Peterson and Wally Shoup and their latest effort is testimony to a genre-defying style which will have traditionally minded journalists in tatters and open-minded listeners in a frenzy.
Most of all, however, it is yet another glorious proof that the combination of three distinct individuals does not need to end in complete confusion: Mike Peterson is a Drummer with a penchant for smacking kick drum impulses and a poignant, yet expedient presence. Wally Shoup enjoys gauging the depths of a single line, until he has found its essence – and a Hornist with a inbuilt organ for detecting the subtlest of changes, listening to every utterance of his fellow band members with hawkish attention. Bill Horist, lastly, is the man with the message, setting the tone and propelling the interaction forwards at neckbreak-speed.
Horist also signs responsible for the eclectic stylistic scope of the trio. Regularly leaning towards Rock, Metal and even droning Doom chords, he reaches out towards Funk, Folk and more obvious Jazz-licks on other occasions, sometimes building his contributions from a timbral perspective and with the methods of a sound artist.
"Sound of Speed" has turned out a 41-minute roller coaster ride, which manages to make drawn-out pieces fly by and concise miniatures seem epic. Their approach is probably best summed up by eleven-minute "Mississippi Sock Eater". Opening with the most warm and sensually lyrical lines by Shoup on the entire disc and supported by Mike Peterson feeling his way forward with brushed cymbals, the piece flows seamlessly into a long meditation of pastoral broken Guitar chords, which flows unstoppably towards a delta of pure energy and unfettered grooves. A curvy improvisation, whose organic transitions reward its audience with passages of hallucinatory clarity – and the acme to an album of addictive qualities.
Tobias Fischer, Tokafi, 2008-10-31, Germany