Putting the delusions of a human failure’s ego aside for a moment, there are brains and brains.
Peter Thoegersen might cause countless self-proclaimed masterminds to crash on a major nervous breakdown following the recognition of how actually benighted they are. A prodigy drummer to begin with, he usually writes music by elaborating the (dis)connections between his limbs generating four independent metres at once; from there, a full score is born relatively quickly. Just take a look at Thoegersen’s Bandcamp page to realize that compositional fertility, bitter sarcasm and political sentience can easily coexist. And if you want to know how my ideal professor looks and talks, visit this YouTube channel to experience the aforementioned mordancy first hand, from someone who teaches real lessons dressed in T-shirt and Bermuda shorts, and – icing on the cake – considers his cats as best friends. Exactly like yours truly.
Explaining the parallelism of several tempos to the regular folks is practically unfeasible, given that almost nobody cares a iota about anyone/anything else’s vital rhythms in order to obey to their own. This is the essential reason behind the growingly chaotic shouting contest of today, where every numbskull can wake up in the morning (or perhaps after having received a hard-to-digest psychological slap) and declare possession of The Truth. Microtonality is also a problem for unfortunates trained to consider the ABC of Western arrogance – the “seven notes” arranged in agreeable organizations – as the exclusive fundament of mental healing. Well, ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Thoegersen utilizes your worst nightmare – the communion of polyrhythm and microtonality – as a favorite playground. Only, his applications of microtonality must be multiplied for X parts in each opus, hence the “polytempic polymicrotonality” categorization.
By now it should be clear that there are complex mathematics at play, and I’m definitely not the man for the job of illustrating them (the honorable Kyle Gann is; try and scratch the varnish off his liners to acquire a vague idea, but don’t complain after getting lost in an ocean of utter cluelessness). The pieces were orchestrated and performed on a synthesizer; Thoegersen, by definition, is more interested in finalizing his intuitions in regard to pulse superimposition and tone splintering than assigning the “right” timbral voices for the masses to salivate at. This doesn’t translate into low-budget preset drama. On the contrary, the unconventional resonant auras enkindled by the intrinsic gravity of shifting tempos and odd scales mainly produce delightful effects, even in presence of unequivocal “dissonance” (I’m still using this term, although in my personal vision it is virtually meaningless).
The attentive listener can pick single or multiple lines and follow them for a while before the head starts fluttering; welcome the problems posed by this everchanging wholeness to a typically mono-sourced focus as one would greet a multitude of chirping birds; let the synchronous fractional pitches inhabit remote corners of the cerebrum. An error to avoid is looking for particular/hidden meanings; there’s nothing here to tickle arcane fantasies, notwithstanding Thoegersen’s interest in the simultaneous existences of a soul on various rhythmic planes. It’s rather the concrete outcome of experiments carried out with conviction, grounded on elements of interior acumen that are incomprehensible to the jacks of all trades who rule inside their sacrosanct limitations, yapping about things they do not own.
If Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Branca, Cecil Taylor and Frank Zappa live together in perfect harmony side by side in your archive (yes, that was a Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder quote), you’re going to treasure this CD. Genuine unorthodoxy is a rare commodity nowadays.