Somehow, it all works, as the dizzying soundscape never stays in one place for long. New passages drift in and out, accompanied by clanging percussion or recorded electronica. The mixes are extreme and feral, and that is part of the bizarre appeal. Ambience and textures add to the overall flavor of this improvisational thunderstorm.
The disc is divided into a pair of 26-minute sections: "She Said - She Said, Can You Sing Sermonette With Me?" and "5 Dreams; Marriage."
Bursts and streams of sounds appear, then quickly morph into something else entirely. Everything but the kitchen sink is utilized.
At points, though, "What Is It Like To Be A Bat" sounds like a malfunctioning video game. That's intentional of course, but still unsettling. Noises fly in and out like unexpected spitballs, vocals become shrill and are fired off like pieces of shrapnel and tempos change rapidly. The performers never really noodle; instead, they engage. in chaotic jams, aImost appearing at odds with their instruments and making it difficult to discern melody or rhythm.
"What Is It Like To Be A Bat" is a hellacious squall of sound that is never boring and wholly original. Not everyone will love this CD, but Brazelton, Naphtali and Tunick deserve kudos for attempting something so dramatic and different.
On the whole, it feels like the soundtrack to a futuristic film about a pending Armageddon.