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Experimental Music: Claudia, Rothkamm

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CLAUDIA: We've Met Before, When We Were... (CD on Audiobulb Records)

This CD from 2006 offers 74 minutes of experimental weirdness.

Claudia is Justin Varis, a young composer from Los Angeles who pursues a highly eccentric sonic vision.

Instrumentation varies, and the uses are never predictable or conventional. Piano notes may be jammed between metallic tapping. Vocal snippets float in a sea of low voltage electronics, contrasting found sound with cybernetic aggression. Fragmentary plucked guitar notes are sliced into an atmospheric milieu of halting inconsistency. Chittering diodes are coaxed to provide sporadic tempos.

There is little cohesion or flow involved here. Varis' intentions seem dedicated to random structure with an accent on incarnate strangeness. Melodic elements coexist with atonal aspects. Single tracks jump all over the place, as if refusing to restrain themselves to any one focus. Although jarring, the result is very symbolic of modern life.

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ROTHKAMM: FB02: Astronaut of Inner Space (CD on Flux Records)

This release from 2006 offers 34 minutes of abstract electronics.

Rothkamm's music is comprised of ethereal tones and sporadic pulsations that pursue a nonmelodic structure. The compositions delve into inner space, seeking connections between the id and abstract realms. Harmonic applications strive for order in chaos, channeling erratic patterns into an astral terrain that is highly evocative of an interstellar medium.

Keys are struck seemingly at random, yet the result ebbs into a strange cohesion that harkens to the early days of electronic music, akin to Stockhausen or John Cage. Diodes are tweaked and cybernetic circuits are coaxed to generate grating sounds that are then aligned with softer tonalities that echo the sentiments of sci-fi movie effects from the 1950s.

The overall sound is often eerie with a strong mechanical edge. Although generally atonal in nature, a modicum of abstract structure emerges that is reminiscent of a primitive form of musique concrete filtered through an array of nostalgic machinery.

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