"On Playbacks, Derek Bailey engages in some seriously avant-garde interactions with a variety of prerecorded rhythm tracks. Ex-Tortoise, studio heads Bundy K. Brown and Casey Rice both contribute fascinating backdrops for Bailey, as does plunderphonic auteur John Oswald, post-rock connoisseur Sasha Frere-Jones, San Francisco guitar whiz Henry Kaiser and plenty more."
(Mitch Myers, MetroTimes)
"This is one of a pair of releases in which guitar improv legend, the late Derek Bailey improvises over material sent to him by a range of artists. The other one, Guitar, Drum ‘n’ Bass I’ll post another time. It also works as a reverse of Thurston Moore’s Root project, where it was Moore who sent the music out.
I generally don’t find Bailey’s work that accessible, but in this context it’s much easier to deal with. Oddly, I once saw him play live and it made much more sense – maybe it needs more concentration than I can muster at home.
It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t play on two of the tracks. John Oswald’s contribution was, as you’d expect, a cut-up of many older Bailey performances, which Bailey felt was complete when it arrived, and the hilarious last track where he talks (but doesn’t play) about his obsession with the name George.
Most of the other contributors, including producer Sasha Frere-Jones are luminaries of the 90s alt-rock scene, particularly people involved with Tortoise, although John French used to play with Captain Beefheart. Even when the backing track is rather uninspiring, Bailey rescues the project – he seems to be able to play along to more-or-less anything."