What the critics are saying:
"As a unit, they create a fury of unvarnished aggressiveness with freely improvised pieces containing emotion as well as forcefulness. ...The recording is not a continuous expulsion of fire and brimstone. Several passages show a controleed sense of direction where intricacy of execution plays an equally important role. ...Above all the livr recording contains spontaniety. The three musicians improvise collectively or individually for the length of the album, which translates into an exciting ride for the adventurous listener."
— Frank Rubilino, Cadence
"To say that free improvisation has fallen out of fashion is akin to bemoaning the so-called 'death of conversation'. One might postulate that conversation has died because of the cultural dominance of television or the Internet, but that doesn't mean that people don't still talk long into the night about important matters of the heart and mind. Conversation has just gone underground -- so goes free jazz. Driven into dark places by the rise of music that looks backward to the '50's and beyond, free music -- jazz's equivalent of the late-night, unbridled conversation -- remains alive, even where you would least expect it.
... Enter rake, a musically adventurous trio based in Ottawa, Canada's capital of anything but free music. With the unusual instrumentation of two percussionists and a reed player who features bassoon as much as sax, rake creates rich, widely variegated textures. There is some of the angularity of Braxton, a little of the wry music-play of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, more than a measure of Brötzmann's Sturm-und-Drang. Mostly, there is conversation -- free and far-ranging. Listen up!"
"Enter rake, a musically adventurous trio based in Ottawa, Canada's capital of anything but free music. With the unusual instrumentation of two percussionists and a reed player who features bassoon as much as sax, rake creates rich, widely variegated textures. There is some of the angularity of Braxton, a little of the wry music-play of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, more than a measure of Brötzmann's Sturm-und-Drang. Mostly, there is conversation"
"Saxophonist John Butcher's style can be recognized in a flash. The split tones, slap tonguing, jabs, and spurts are remarkably idiosyncratic. They are also remarkably good, even if they tend to be predictable. His trio with percussionist Gene Robair and bassist Matthew Sperry is a finely oiled unit, utterly subversive, powerful, and unique. On the singular "Nervio," Butcher's saxophone pounds energetically against an underbelly of scratchy string bass, leading to a held tone building tension, and never really releasing it. This is followed by the sprightly "Labio," with its disjointed clipped phrasing. And so on. This release has the advantage of 12 tracks, ranging in length from one to eight minutes, each of which is sufficiently different to keep the listener's interest. This is noise/improvisation at its best, logically developed and touching a plethora of moods and textures. The bassist shows spectacular form, with studied intervallic leaps, and horn-like runs, though nothing on the recording is closely related to any sort of common improvisatory strategy. Here is music that soars in its own way, oblivious to the world, yet forging new perspectives that sound a cry for freedom. Butcher and his colleagues seem to hear the notes differently than anyone else on the planet, forging new traditions, and sputtering a fresh dynamic. "
—Steve Loewy, All Music Guide