This 5-CD set of his early work shows a somewhat different sonic palatte than I've come to associate with Berne--in some instances, it seems as though he hasn't quite found his voice. (I'm thinking particularly of the, ahem, almost fusiony pieces on disc 2.) He really starts to find his groove as we know it on discs 3, 4, and 5, but there are moments on the others that are well worth a listen.
Finally saw Tim Berne live (with Michael Formanek), and they're an amazing team. It's criminal how few people were in the audience, but it was easy to get a good seat. Check out Ornery People for a sample of how they sound in this configuration, but they were definitely harder-edged when I saw them. Ornery People is great, though--the beginning is perfect, with Berne's playing on Formanek's "Jiggle the Handle" setting a noir-ish mood. It's the kind of music that plays in your head on the kind of evening on which you know you'll be waking up the next morning in a dumpster.
Tim Berne/Paraphrase: Please Advise This has grown on me significantly. There's that simulated feedback thing going on with this one. While the performance of Visitation Rites is (to use a stupid metaphor) closer in (sonically, not necessarily musically), Please Advise has more space in it. It's enjoyable and instantly recognizable. When we were on our way to Columbus, this was on the car radio. (WRCT, people.)
Tim Berne and Michael Formanek's "Ornery People"
Still listening to Tim Berne. You know it has to be good.
Still stuck on Tim Berne's Paraphrase. If you're at all into improvised music, hot sax playing, free jazz, or noisecore, check it out.