LINE SERIES - Improvisation



new rules for noise


Gordon Grdina's Box Cutter


Gordon Grdina, guitar

Francois Houle, clarinets

Karlis Silins, bass

Kenton Loewen, drums



Most Spool CDs are available through iTunes and CDBaby and other streaming sites.


What the critics are saying:


"Box Cutter is well-named: the multifaceted Gordon Grdina’s “jazz” band is a small, sharp unit, capable of intricately detailed air-carving, but just as likely to offer knife-edged excursions into abstract terrain. Here, though, the focus is primarily on concise, melodic playing, no matter what this record’s title might imply.


Two benign deities preside over New Rules for Noise, in the form of saxophonist Ornette Coleman and clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre. In fact, if guitarist Grdina has a fault, it’s that he sometimes hews too closely to their templates; at first, I mistook his original “Burning Bright” for a Coleman composition, while the waltzlike “Yellow Spot into the Sun” would be quite at home on one of Giuffre’s pioneering trio recordings from the early 1960s."


--Alexander Varty.


Georgia Straight June 19, 2008


New Rules for Noise is an apt title for this album from experimental, jam-style jazz rock fusion band Gordon Grdina’s Box Cutter. Named after guitarist Gordon Grdina, Box Cutter also features bassist Karlis Silins, drummer Kenton Loewen and clarinettist Francois Houle, the latter playing a primary role on the album, setting this band apart from other jam bands. The quartet are tight, whether they’re playing groovy dance floor numbers, slow burn ballads or more experimental free-form creations. Aside from a dominant clarinet, the music also reveals a lot of interesting guitar wankery, including feedback and Sonic Youth-style pick-scraping. Unfortunately, the disparate sounds of each instrument sometimes connect to create chaotic music that can border on cacophony, as on "The Good News” and "Plan of Attack.” At other times, like with "The Bad News,” the music is so stripped down and bare that there’s almost nothing going on. Fans of Captain Beefheart and Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis may find the improv experimentation enjoyable but jazz and rock fans will probably find the more straightforward songs a little more appealing.


—Thomas Quinlan,


Exclaim May 20, 2008