In a world filled with creativity, many musicians spurn the commercial realm with such vehemence as to quest for art forms so experimental as to defy ready codification. Such releases require indie labels of grave courage and determination to distribute unclassifiable music like this.
Anticlock is such an indie label, whose interests involve quirky hybrids of chamber music and musique concrete.
FROGTOBOGGAN: Frogtoboggan Meets the Unpaid Professionals (CD on Anticlock)
This release from 2001 offers 37 minutes of concrete classical music recorded live on May 27, 2000.
Frogtoboggan's drone and prepared piano is joined on this CD by: Ed Bubl on trumpet, Paul Bubl on flute and clarinet (with a garden hose extension), Barb Barasa on violin, Jennifer Van Dyke on voice, Courtney Scott on bass clarinet, Thomas Prislac on rant, and Kerul Devi on poetry.
This music is a strange blend of chamber classical with abstract drone. Electronic textures support a sparse orchestra that strives to be shrill and demanding. Non-lyrical vocals pierce the experimental mix, while silent gaps function as more than pauses in the flow. All the while, wind instruments and horns resound harshly, pursuing a melodic presence that seems consciously at odds with the rest of the structure.
Surprisingly, the resultant cacophony is far from repulsive. The aggressive sonic conflict is almost engaging as melodies slide through a gauntlet of illbient sensibilities. Drones rise, conquer, then recede, beaten back by orchestral outbursts. Melody battles with atonal chaos, with victories on both sides.
With the brief appearance of recited prose, the music becomes an agitated soundtrack for tales of interplanetary exploration.
TECHIX: Monosymphonic (CD on Anticlock)
This release from 2004 features 58 minutes of entertainingly abrasive violin music.
Techix is led by Justin Jones.
In the opening piece, shrill chords cavort before sheets of ecclesiastic choirs achieved by an orchestral drone. Abrasive tones erupt amid vibrating lesser tones, many of these noises being generated by synthetically enhanced violin, which will emerge as the dominant instrument among these bizarre compositions.
Violin melodies run throughout this music, sharp and nasty. Despite their seething unnatural sound, these passages are more conventional, although the accompanying elements often strive to undercut that recognizability. In one instance, bopping percussion dogs a serious string recital; in another track, a lazily fingered acoustic guitar strums along with the distorted violin.
An extremely deviant approach to modern symphonic music surfaces as the model for Techix's sonic intention. What at first seems abrasive, gradually melts into meticulous experimentation, with "shrill" as the keynote approach.
The result is remarkably enticing and even hypnotic in its unbridled dedication to strangeness.
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