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(FMP CD 101)
Here is the second portion of the quartet's performance at the 1997 Total Music Meeting, in Berlin, originally released a year or so following No. 1. Not so much toned down as more concentrated, these four movements? tracks? pieces? only reinforce the notion that this was one of the fiercest and brutally beautiful groups of the 1990s. Parker and Drake burn, Brötzmann hollers, and Kondo simply glows, filling in all the cracks. Essential stuff.
"[This] unit is unmatched. Brötzmann may be the saxophonist most capable of summoning the ghost of Albert Ayler, building on that legacy while still retaining his own exuberant stamp. This quartet is clearly the most vital working group the saxophonist has had in years, and Brötzmann sounds completely energized, playing with the energy of a man one-third his age. While he has lost nothing in terms of his sheer force, it is his, dare I suggest, reflective playing in this context that is most riveting. While percussionist Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker supply an unremitting, relentless, undercurrent, Brötzmann and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo soar over the top in a tangled, fuming, and joust. Through the utilization of electronics, Kondo paints impressionist smears of color all over the canvas or engages the reed player in heated dialogue. Like the best of Ayler’s music, this makes for a listening experience that is brutally honest, challengingly direct and above all, exhilarating."—CODA
"Easily one of the most exciting, uh, 'things' of the past half-decade or so has been the development of Peter Brötzmann’s Ayler-tribute project into a clock-punching, audience-demolishing quartet.... The two volumes of Little Birds, both from the same November 1997 session in Berlin, have everything today’s squinting, sniffling free-improv fan could want, with Volume 1 sporting the requisite Internationally Approved half-hour-plus workouts, and the somewhat preferable Volume 2 paring things down into slightly more focused ramblings.... While Brötzmann is clearly steering and Drake is clearly the grease in the wheels, Kondo is the real hero of these brainstorms, always able to counterpunch Brötzmann’s stratospheric leaping with an amazing array of logic-defying electronic vocalisms and inhuman improv-marathons. There are sections during which you can run to the bathroom without hitting pause, but nail yourself to a chair for a couple hours and the hit/miss ratio is pretty stunning."—Marc Masters. Opprobrium
"Little Birds Have Fast Hearts, No. 2 complements the first volume, including more of this quartet's excellent interplay and self-feeding energy."—All Music Guide
Peter Brötzmann/Die Like A Dog Quartet
Peter Brötzmann: tarogato, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet, electronics
William Parker: double bass
Hamid Drake: drums
Recorded live by Holger Scheuermann and Jost Gebers on November 8th and 9th, 1997, during the Total Music Meeting at the Podewil in Berlin.
Mixed and mastered by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Peter Brötzmann and Jost Gebers.
Booklet design/layout: Peter Brötzmann.
Photos: Dagmar Gebers.