We recently enjoyed hearing a recording from alto saxophonist Peter Epstein (The Dark) as part of the trio EEA with and (see our review here). Abtract Realism by Epstein and Idee' Fixe mines similar veins as that edgy release, but a notable exception is the presence of bass (Sam Minaie) and guitar (Andy Barbera) - as well as special guests Brian Walsh on bass clarinet and Gavin Templeton on alto and soprano sax. The Epstein-composed "Painfully Simple" starts off ominously with Minaie's pedal point bass, Matt Mayhall's organic drums and Epstein's and Templeton's long parallel lines. Barbera's effected guitar joins the fray as the music builds inexorably toward some mysterious destination. This compelling approach continues on songs like "Face of a Whale" - which again like half of the ten songs is composed by Epstein (the other five by Epstein with the other members). Here the energy level cranks up several notches as Epstein shreds on sax (reminding me of our former local alto hero Greg Ward) and Barbara lights into some burning guitar riffs. The improvised "Four 1" reminds a bit of classical composer Oliver Messiaen with Epstein's bird twittering saxophone. Walsh's bass clarinet provides the drone on the atmospheric "Deep Breathing." "Creamy Center" veers into Miles' "Nefertiti" territory, while "Air 1" is luminous chamber jazz and "Air 2" free form skittering - both featuring all three reed players. The rhythm section is given a chance to shine during the almost-funky "Dark to Light." "Four 2" is another improvisation with some nice work from everyone - especially Barbera, while the title track ends the album with an invigorating mixture of atmospherics and industrial noise. It may not be emanating from Area 51, but there is some strange and exciting music coming out of Reno, Nevada these days that is well worth a listen.