Review of Unearthish, Elliot Simon, The New York City Jazz Record, September 2011:
Beat poets used jazz as a backdrop for their prose but their approach was more parallel than integrative and more deferential than symbiotic. While Unearthish invites that comparison, violinist/poet Sarah Bernstein has instead created compositions that are post-Beat holistic works of art. Her muse is more the performance poetry of Hedwig Gorski than Allen Ginsberg's Howl set to a soundtrack of Miles or Trane. Bernstein attacks a diverse array of subjects with staccato jibes and jabs that can require some interpretation. "War" is "fear within a square" while "Normality" is feeling that escalates into insanity and is then transformed into normality. Her gift though is the exquisite interlacing of the rhythm and feel of her words with the rhythm and feel of the music. Bernstein's violin is also a versatile voice and she uses some electronics to shape its sound. Percussionist Satoshi Takeishi is Bernstein's rhythmical partner on these duets and he has never sounded more at home. His multiple percussive timbres result in a broad, at times regal, sonic gestalt that is worldly yet personal. The ironically titled opening track "It's Over" includes beautifully pure marimba tones, which are a wonderfully earthy addition to Takeishi's usual exotic palette. He provides a solid base for Bernstein's soaring violin and vocals while also displaying his own unique voicings. "Possession" has Bernstein dispassionately ticking off weighty concepts to a linear pizzicato/percussive march. The poetic faux-rocker "And I will" includes clever lyrical word play and a middle that would not be out of place as part of a Jim Morrison soliloquy. Two of three instrumental tracks enable the musicians to bob, weave and blend in a less constrained atmosphere while "Three Wishes" shines the spotlight on Bernstein's interesting solo harmonic approach.