by: Rachel's

Louisville, KY's Rachel's might record for the punk/noise label Quarterstick Records, but their ambitious blend of post-minimalist modern classical music and post-rock experimentalism (guests include ex-Volcano Suns bassist Bob Weston; ex-Rodan leader Jason Noble wrote several tracks with Grimes) has almost nothing at all to do with rock music. These seven pieces, recorded between 1991 and 1994, featuring a cast of 16 musicians in various combinations, range from the two-minute solo piano miniature "Frida Kahlo" to the chaotic fourteen-and-a-half-minute "Full on Night," which blends a full chamber orchestra with electric guitar and tape loops like a more sonically aggressive version of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Well-recorded and gorgeously packaged (as are all Rachel's albums), Handwriting is probably not to be recommended to the usual Quarterstick Records fan, but admirers of modern classical music will find much to enjoy. ~ Stewart Mason

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