Thollem/Rivera plays both fully composed pieces and organized improvisations, absorbing ideas from many different sources and mixing them up until they often no longer resemble their original state. This music is of the world, a result of, and as interaction in it. Nuclear bombs, modern classical music, free jazz, cave paintings, gamelan and West-African drumming ensembles, flowers, weather patterns, Chinese and Hindustani music, cracks, lies, enzymes, punk, wind, traffic, whispers, chants, and chance, among infinite others, all play some kind of a role in the development of this music. Each piece is derived from its own unique set of principles, partially with the goal of making every piece distinct in both concept and character. Sometimes this music is fast and intricate, other times it is expansive allowing the complete decay of sounds. It is heavily rehearsed and spontaneous acoustic music. Utilizing only piano, percussion, and sometimes voice, you will still hear a tremendous amount of variety, an incorporation of an eclectic grouping of sounds and ideas.
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"...varied and original...The duo has a great feel on the album. They work together like a tight and personal ensemble should. This is especially realized in parts of the tune “War Is Terror, Terror Is War”. The piece is a complexly structured avant-garde work, almost collage-like in effect. Rivera follows (and even sometimes leads) McDonas along the journey."
- Ryan McDermott, One Final Note (full feature story...)
“Like a fascinating drunk savant, Thollem/Rivera veer wildly between articulate cleverness and blunt incoherence. The quirk is that the incoherence is precise -- and that balance of reckless ingenuity, married with mathematical vamping, makes I'll Meet You Half Way Out In The Middle Of It All an intriguing (and aptly titled) recording.” - Sean Sullivan, Splendid
“Absolute talent and creative energy unbounded here…” - Rotcod Zzaj