HENRY KAISER & MAX KUTNER – Wild Courses

Iluso

Before I start rambling, let me tell you: for this record, one has to decide which side he/she’s on in regard to genuine listening focus. In the era of low-budget indagation about everything – from philosophically trendy cosmogonies to the ingredients of a pizza – it is extremely amusing to note the mental impotence of alleged erudite beings in presence of even slight deviations from a palatable musical plainness. Whatever appears that is not rhythmically formularized – or “consonant” according to the orchestral laws of a cell phone ringtone – is unconsciously (and verbally) considered as information overload, and discarded in the name of some pseudo-spiritual dictum. These people will have a hard time in such perilous waters. However, for the true investigators – not necessarily guitarists, this includes audiences acquainted with the most revealing aspects of resonant strings – Wild Courses is out-and-out heaven. Not only Kaiser and Kutner possess the necessary curricula and expertise; they are gifted with an intrinsic discernment of how the components of a vibrating guitar self-organize when stimulated in a knowledgeable way.

In any case, a quick look at the above link offers details for the instrument’s connoisseur (besides explaining the album’s title). Stuff to salivate on for weeks, guitars that irradiate harmonics by merely staring at them. Imagine eleven tracks – comprising a 20-minute study of sorts – replete with shifting pitches, peculiar bends, unusual chords, wobbling reverberations, (back)ground noise, attacks that set the guts in “duck and cover” mode. By closing the eyes, the mind conjures up the scent of cables and valves hybridized with the pulsating lifeblood of those ancient exotic woods. Sublime, for this autistic child of a reviewer. The electric issue is handled with somewhat cynical savoir faire. We don’t have to understand what is what; all tones become uncontrollably bizarre after having trodden a processing path that would turn human shallowness into compost. What’s better, Kaiser and Kutner mesh sweet and sour in perfect doses. No danger of getting bored, notwithstanding the lack of singalong possibilities; the scenarios change rather systematically, and the brain must promptly adjust. This should also occur in the so-called “reality of things”, you know. But I’ll be damned if I find a smidgen of the same intelligence in that ambit.

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