And so, despite many reminders, you still haven’t ventured into the bewildering electroacoustic dialectics of Peter Thoegersen. Well, today you are being offered another opportunity. Alien Music is a compilation of materials already published for some time, warranting (perhaps) the less courageous customer a fruitful approach with the kaleidoscopically quick-witted logic of this unclassifiable musician.
Thoegersen is both fully aware of his enhanced divergence and blessed with a spirit halfway through playful and hyper-serious. Several pieces – in particular the title track, where the protagonist is also engaged in intricate drum parts that would hurt Vinnie Colaiuta’s pride – suggest to this writer the compositional eagerness that distinguished his own youthful pursuits. A consecutiveness of technical challenges that nevertheless sound absolutely instinctive, and often unintentionally ironic.
The adjective “alien” is indeed ideal to pinpoint such episodes as “Indian Summer”, where the eternal love between Thoegersen and polytempic polymicrotonality is renewed in the middle of outrageous synthetic timbres and contrapuntal structures deprived of any formulaic trait. In this set, and in Thoegersen’s output in general, hundreds of capricious tempos and discordant melodies are woven together, resisting memorization with all their might. Yet, the whole thing is thoroughly enjoyable. We discovered, somewhat surprisingly, a kind of “song”: “Iraq”, bizarre like most everything else herein. Once absorbed, this compendium of quirky sounds will have your neurons dancing to a different beat. Not bad, especially in times of worldwide multi-level dementedness.
Ultimately, circumstances exist where what appears to be the upshot of fun experimentation contains instead unexpected evolutionary suggestions. Thoegersen has long accustomed us to similar gifts, which he scatters around without caring too much about thanks. Try to fall asleep while listening to the closing “Polymicrotonal Etude VII”, but resist the urge to tell someone of the strange mix of asynchronous xylophones and amorphous electro-cats whose unearthly meowing echoes amidst organs washed with bleach and hung out to dry in the sun. Ordinary people’s minds work only in twos and fours, exactly as a military march. Throw them off that pace, and they’re finished. Accordingly, when you make wannabes realize that they’re just idiots and not geniuses as they believed themselves to be, that’s where the real danger begins.