The three previous reviews of BotOS releases have resulted in an average of 9.3 – so you know that this review will have to be read with a grain of salt. “Grass Openings”, one of the most recent releases by this Australian duo of Michael and Kristina Donnelly, is full to the brim with the couple’s trademark sound of improvised strings, guitar and percussion. Its nine songs clock in at between 4:30 and 21 minutes, both formats of which give the Donnellys ample space to transport themselves – and the listener – into trancelike states. The sheer sonic palette that’s in effect here is stunning, even if I don’t usually enjoy free improvisation too much: “The Theaton Often Lies” is one of the shorter, more focused tracks. It’s beat-driven, starting out with a jazzy vibe, but permeating into a melting guitar fuzz fest and further on towards to a forlorn whir. Elsewhere, “The Greening of the Lion” starts as an exercise in pots’n’pan percussion, which is brushed aside in favor of some rather minimal electronics.
The album is bookended by its two longest tracks. Opener “Wasp Kings We Adore You” peaks in a hyperactive freakout before a fast-forwarded tape leads over into a final minute of atari improv lounge, whereas the final track, “Neutrinos of Alter Earth”, never ceases to catch me on the wrong foot at around the nine-minute mark with its cunning use of flutes and – bagpipes, methinks. And the church choir is yet to come, leading out of an album that ought to be consulted by all those improvisers who lack any sense of direction and bore the listener to death. For, in contrast to that, these “Grass Openings” are part of a wonderfully weird world, which could hardly be any greener. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (31 March, 2010)