Review of Object Holder CD, from CMJ by David Newgarden
Waking up with what seems to be a hangover, I feel my head spinning with hazy memories of smoky late night jazz clubs, Turkish hash dens, surreal medieval carnivals - a nightmarish jumble; it's impossible to sort out what was real, what was a dream, and what was the Biota album I'd been listening to far into the wee hours. Echoes of bellowing pump organs, whimsical hurdy-gurdy, mutant guitar twang, impressionistic piano and mournful horn dirges blend into distorted images. The Biota septet strums, plucks, blows, hammers and squeezes exotic and forgotten instruments to paint peculiar improvisations and songs remembered from previous lives. The long, strange Biota journey has produced a dozen releases, each with new textures and colors, each with successively more melody, and on Object Holder, the surprising development of singing (featuring the pensive voice of Susanne Lewis of Kissyfur, Hail and A Thinking Plague). Biota is not even remotely like any other group I can think of, and always no less than astonishing.