There is little hope for Aaron Novik. In the world of mainstream professional musicians, "hope" means only one thing: bucks. As euphemized by "charting," "getting signed," and "touring with someone famouser than yourself," "success" has a horribly narrow definition. None of that stuff is even a glimmer in local clarinet virtuoso Novik's eye, so there you go. He'll never "make it." But in the real world, where most people live, coins of the realm include fulfilling the harsh demands of a genuine vision, thinking deeply, and having fun, for example. In the real world, Aaron Novik is a deeply desired man-about-town and a raging success who sets weird poetry to music, plays in a bass clarinet quartet, and studies ancient Jewish mysticism. That a popular one of his current projects, Thorny Brocky, also features respected musicians from the jazz, art music, rebel-classical, and heavy metal worlds shows his commitment to nay, enjoyment of collaboration, another mainstream death kiss. Thorny Brocky sounds like a stripped-down Middle Eastern Sun Ra tribute band with original compositions as accessible as indie-rock. It'd be hard to lure Coldplay fans with that kind of bait, but who cares?