Dopo Outside Pleasure e Outside Aloha Pleasure, The Avant Garde Project recupera dal vinile un altro raro album di Henry Kaiser, mai ripubblicato in compact disc: It's a Wonderful Life, del 1984 (era su Metalanguage).
Recorded five years after Outside Pleasure, this solo recording reflects both a maturation in conception on the part of Kaiser and an overt broadening of influences. At this point, he no longer felt obliged to remain in Frith/Bailey territory when improvising (although they certainly remained as models), but was free to import aspects of various forms he loved, from rock to Asian string music and beyond. It's also a much more relaxed, expansive set with less of a hermetic air. The title improvisation (all of the pieces are freely improvised) traces an imaginative journey through rolling glissandos, echoed shards of melody, and frenetic stutterings, all bound by an appealingly nostalgic, wistful quality; it's an early highlight in Kaiser's career. This being the mid-'80s, there's the unfortunate though inevitable experimentation with drum machines (on "Let's Drink 100% Healthy Milk and Study Hard!") that one can, with forbearance, overlook. "The Book of Gold" showcases his admiration of Vietnamese string music wedded, as would often be the case in ensuing years, with American acoustic blues. The final track begins sounding like gamelan, drifts off into ethereal violin-like strains, and finally settles into a luscious pedal steel blues. Not released on disc as yet, It's a Wonderful Life may be quite difficult to locate, but is one of Kaiser's very best from relatively early in his development.
The Avant Garde Project is a series of 20th-century classical, experimental, and electroacoustic torrents digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. This is wild stuff, so check it out if you’ve never heard this sort of music before. The analog rig used to extract the sound from the grooves is near state-of-the-art, producing almost none of the tracking distortion or surface noise normally associated with LPs.