November 23, 1998
I don't have the official ESP versions of Ayler's Slug's stuff. My versions are those MusicMagic (or MagicMusic, or whatever they call themselves) CDs, one called Truth is Marching In and the other is Black Unity or something along those lines, they're at home and I'm not. As has already been mentioned, the sound is terrible, and I don't assume that the ESP versions are significantly better (they'd have to be from an altogether different source). It's a pretty sure bet that the boot versions are simply mastered from some version of the ESP LPs (for all I know, the BASE reissues).
The weird thing about these recordings, though, is that at some point what is heard is the tape being played backwards. The chaotic quality of much of this music and the dismal sound conspire to make the backward passages less noticeable than they might otherwise be, but there's no doubt that that is what I'm hearing. Personally, I'll take the end of Strawberry Fields as an example of this phenomenon any day.
[Originally posted to the Zorn list]