Reviews of Excavation


“The cornerstone tunes are “Ellenville” and “Hatchet Face” (like all but the final track, Monder originals). Each comes in at around fifteen minutes and is an unhurried exploration of atmosphere, developed through a succession of mini-movements, intelligent grooves, and freewheeling guitar improvisations mixing dexterous chordal passages and jetspeed single-note runs.”
—Chris May, AAJ

“Guitarist Ben Monder flashes a technique that’s close to ridiculous here, though you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it. On “Mistral,” the first number and a tune that sets the tone for everything that follows…the guitarist surges through streams of notes so quickly and smoothly that the guitar seems to liquefy in his hands.”
—Aaron Steinberg, Jazz Times

“The compositions…combine serious grooves with technically staggering ensemble passages, wordless vocalizing, and brilliant guitar playing…Excavation contains some of the most unique, invigorating music released during the year 2000.”
—David Adler, All Music Guide

“Guitarist Ben Monder inhabits a world where jazz is created for deep space. Setting aside typical jazz meters and swing, he plays with a detached consciousness.”
—Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

“Monder’s delicate guitar notes combine with the high pitched or throaty vocalized humming of Bleckmann in creating a harmonic garden of pleasure, a place where vibrant music swarms unthreateningly over the senses…the result is a recording of highly inspired music.”
– Cadence Magazine

“Another extremely strong release from an underrecognized, innovative harmonic master and his henchman that, so fortunately for us all, calls out for the next.”
—Phil DiPietro, All About Jazz

“Monder picks through chords like a spider spinning its web on speed…”
—Christopher Porter, Jazz Times