You don't necessarily buy Hafler Trio releases because they're going to be 'easy listening'...and this is no exception. In fact, this could better be termed 'uneasy listening'. "A Thirsty Fish" is the aural equivalent of being transformed into a doggie toy and being violently shaken around by a rottweiler. Sound sources shift and jump with maximal contrast from one type to another, with seeming illogic. Snippets of voices and other semi-recognizable sounds flit by, just fast enough to realize what they are, but not to comprehend them. And just as you get used to one set of aural circumstances, you're flung headlong into something else. Normally, this would be a huge laundry-list of negatives...but in the course of playing with all of these negative aesthetics, Andrew McKenzie crafts a work that is a seeming parallel to the surging bewilderment of the modern landscape. Hard to take, and downright devastating if taken at one sitting, this album is a tour-de-force in what can be accomplished by musique concrete methods, even in this day and age. And in the class of this sort of music, it ranks right up there with works by luminaries of sonic assemblage such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Max Neuhaus, Pierre Henry, et al.