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World Music CD Reviews North American

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog

By James Rodgers
Published July 18, 2008

Party Intellectuals
Pi Recordings

Marc Ribot considers his trio Ceramic Dog to be “a real rock band,” and unsurprisingly, the talented guitarist has a singularly warped vision of what rock is. Ribot recently received accolades for his fine guitar work on the Grammy-winning Alison Krauss/ Robert Plant collaboration, but don’t expect that vibe here. Blending punk, psychedelia, jazz, funk, electronica, and just plain noise, Ceramic Dog delivers the musical equivalent of hyper-caffeinated fugue, mixing and mashing genres and bucking like a bronco. If you’re willing to hold on, it’s a thrilling, yet challenging ride, with co-conspirators Ches Smith (drums) and Shahzad Ismally (bass and synthesizers) matching Ribot note-for-note on 12 tracks of intensity. The three musicians create mind-blowing music together, and except for a twisted take on the Doors’ “Break On Through,” it’s all originals. Ribot doesn’t seem to care about musical borders or restrictions, and with Ceramic Dog, he’s out of the yard and running free.