For an artist known for incredible prolificacy and the seeming instantaneousness of his work,'s ballet score Allies has managed to acquire a long and checkered history. Created in 1989 for the post-modernist Bebe Miller Dance Company, Allies appears near the start of a period where began to separate his efforts in multi-movement works designed for dance, theater productions, and film from the short, improvised guitar pieces and work within rock styled ensembles that he had long been associated with. Although free jazz saxophonist contributes some key wails and 's longtime partner in the group Skeleton Crew, cellist , is also heard, Allies was recorded mostly by himself, playing guitar, bass, keyboards, and twiddling tapes. In the original 1989 version, also employed a synthetic rhythm track, and that is where the trouble with Allies began. initially withheld release of the work, as he was unsatisfied with the sound of the beat box, and it wasn't until 1993 that was able to employ drummer to re-track this music with real drums. Satisfied, offered the project to Daniel Waldner at RecRec music in Switzerland, who accepted it, but died before its release.
This second edition ofwas newly remastered in 2004, and regards this incarnation, issued by his own Fred Records and distributed through ReR Megacorp, as "final." The six pieces here do not sound like tracks on an album, but contain a myriad of shared ideas that combine to create a sense of wholeness. The question remains as to what audience will find this to their liking. Hardcore fans of downtown New York music will find it a bit too controlled, easygoing, and not thorny enough, whereas more classically attuned listeners might find a bit too much pop in it. That is the price paid when one breaks new ground, as has done here -- taking a pop sound, spicing it with quirk and stretching it over a formally classical canvas. For those who have ears to hear it, Allies will please repeatedly, and it remains one of 's most satisfying efforts in a long career typified by excellence.