Get Shorty (December 2012)

PHILIP BROPHY – Filmmusic Vol.2

Part of a batch that was sent to me a good while ago (and will be dealt with in various installments) this is a mostly palatable helping of bizarrely naïve soundtracks involving director Brophy handling alone all the instruments (guitars, drums, keyboards and sampler) and vocals. Frugal minimalism, oddball ruminations for solo electric piano, trans-gendered samples bathed in now haunted, now humorous environments, robotic vocalism, a vague sense of eccentricity unconnected from styles or genres. Though some of the keyboard presets are dreadfully passé, the CD is cute enough to require some listening before emitting a verdict of “not guilty” (of aural rape). (Sound Punch)

VERNON & BURNS – Mort Aux Vaches

Live radio performance is the specialization of Vernon & Burns, and this artifact – which comes lodged in a copper sleeve – demonstrates that the duo is rather proficient in the field. Although the copiousness of verbal clips – joined with repeated moments of stasis in the purely musical action – tends to hinder the vital fluxes (thus diminishing the record’s overall value), the segments where irony, reality and fantasy collide are many. Those are the instances in which this pair’s intrinsic assonance and architectural knack in developing a sonic edifice emerges: enjoying convulsive dances, snippets of old movies and sing-along absurdities becomes quite unproblematic then. (Staalplaat)

JOHN BUTCHER – Bell Trove Spools

With John Butcher’s records the risk is that of repeating the same things over and over, given that the music’s quality standards are always more than adequate. Bell Trove Spools is a relatively succinct compilation of pieces in which the English saxophonist showcases once more his abilities in exploiting the instrument’s features while immersing himself in respondent environments, the latter ultimately contributing – and not by a little – to the definitive coloring of the resulting materials. There’s most everything Butcher does best: tone-probing walks, obstinate melodic fragmentariness to bring out kernels of resonance, extraordinary multi-phonic sensibility, stabbing upper partials, controlled feedback. And nary a moment of tedium. Class is class. (Northern Spy)

MIGUEL A. GARCIA – Live At El Tanque Gallery, Santa Cruz De Tenerife, 2007

From 2009, no less. A mini CD of 20 minutes or so, recorded in a tank (Oliveros-style). The sources: electronics and “little pieces of ground recordings”, not sure about what this means. But the outcome is indeed something like a memento of what the underground can host, humongous rumbles and booms accompanied by abrasive splinters, piercing frequencies and a persistently hovering, intimidating whooshing froth. Circumstances and sonorities found in thousands of analogous releases, however this particular excerpt was somewhat alluring for these ears. (R.O.N.F.)

SZILÁRD MEZEI – Hő

That Mezei is a huge musician, endowed with both explorative inquisitiveness and respect for the tradition, is out of any discussion. That the average listener will be able to identify with and digest all the acoustic events occurring in the 70 minutes of this CD for solo viola and double bass, I’m not so confident. Bad for those who cannot keep the concentration on, because is replete with high quality music, principally revolving around the concept of timbral itemization and consequent formation of improvisational substance from the raw components (which do not sound unrefined at all, for it takes decades of technical grounding to extract shards of upper partials and hints to discordantly edgy melodies like that). Hundreds of infinitesimal processes fused into a comprehensive display of instrumental prowess. (Aural Terrains)

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