Unknown Contributor Roles: Wharton Tiers; Edith Frost; Christopher Habib; Faust; Greg Calbi; John Fahey; Microstoria; Smog; Sonic Youth; Barbara Manning; Jim O'Rourke.
For the third of Sonic Youth's sound experiment series, they teamed up with legendary nosie-nik Jim O'Rourke. Building on the ideas from the brilliant extended version of "The Diamond Sea" (from WASHING MACHINE); the series explores the (mostly) instrumental side of the band. Though sold as an EP, the three tracks on the CD version of INVITIO…clock in at just over 56 minutes, and can sit quite comfortably with any of SY's best work.
The title track opens the record with over 20 minutes of drenching feedback, saxophone tints, and cut-up television dialogue suggesting the soundtrack to a film-noir set in an industrial wasteland. The comparatively short (at 6 minutes) "Hungara Vivo" is the middle track of this extraordinarily strong trio and is the band's first true "ambient" soundscape: even the master himself, Brian Eno, might be a little envious. The closer, "Radio-Amatoroj," is a 29-minute mediation that structurally recalls "Hyperstation" from the seminal DAYDREAM NATION album. Though this record, and indeed the series to which it belongs, is not aimed at fans of the band's more pop-oriented material, as a whole, it is easily the best work they have done in years.
The Wire (3/98, p.61) - "...an organic and buzzing whole...yet constantly teetering on the brink of chaos....the accent here is on atmospheric swish and flourish, guitars honking like distant foghorns, drums mis-hit and abuses..."