“Spontaneous compositions that defy easy categorization”. Thus recite the liner notes of Bobo Fossils, a series of duets for prepared bass (Vogl) and electronics (Bettis). The preceding description is for simpletons (hey, just kidding). Not only this music does “defy easy categorization”; more often than not, it shows a tendency to confront the basic laws of physics.
At the same time utterly unceremonious and grotesquely polite – it’s not really “noisy” stuff, if you get my point – the six tracks are informed by the kind of animate misbehavior that elicits tender-heartedness in the reviewer. This usually happens when any common conception of “harmony” gets dismembered into a plurality of outlandish micro-entities steadily increasing their progeny outside the borders of a listener’s certitude.
Singling out the components at large is possible. I’m sure that many people – your host being overly trustful – can differentiate the zinging-skronking-and-bouncing lineaments of a manipulated bass from the synthetic excrescences and the funny-smelling byproducts of a modified Max/MSP system. Vogl and Bettis’ dispassionate approach to the act of distilling serviceable liquids from their electroacoustic alembics works wonders in terms of unwilled sarcasm: ultimately, these pieces are truly amusing to listen to.
A praiseworthy effort by two musicians who definitely know what they’re doing, or at the very least are capable of finding alternative ways through a rich woodland of singular emissions. The trip might have appeared perilous, initially; at the end of the day, what was found is a considerable amount of intelligent sonic organisms willing to join forces with a pair of imaginative researchers.