issue 20 :: September 2011

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Review: Seeded Plain

Entry Codes CD [Creative Sources]

The Futurist art movement proposal to leave all traditional instruments and classical composition behind in order to embrace a style of music more appropriate to the dawning age of cities seems, to me, both interesting and thoroughly laughable at the same time. In fact I always imagine that Luigi Russolo was just playing a big art joke in writing The Art of Noises manifesto, though there is no evidence to support this thought. While obviously a product of its time the idea isn’t entirely laughable, especially in light of the birth of electronic manipulation and musique concrète just 40 years later. Pierre Henry and Luc Ferrari are real composers well versed in various forms of classical and modern composition and they prove that the mixture of the musical and found sound actually can be very beautiful. It’s mostly just a matter of intent.
These recent recordings by Bryan Day and Jay Kreimer, from Lincoln, Nebraska, find a slightly uncomfortable middle ground between the art of noises and musical composition. Every sound is produced using homemade instruments like gamelan-esque bowls, prepared guitar, detuned thumb pianos, bowed drum heads, and various metallic percussion. These pieces seem to be performed in real time and if there is any post production I certainly canít hear it (other than editing or overdubbing, which seems likely considering the amount of actions that only two people would be having to make to produce these often dense soundscapes). The result is neither melodic nor particularly abrasive, and I found that leaving the volume at a level slightly below mid seemed most appropriate. It became a sort of aural alien wallpaper that could be enjoyed and be in the background at the same time. Overall it was quite an enjoyable experience to just let the whole disc go by this way and I plan on repeating it some afternoon when the weather is cool.
Review by Jacob Green, a musician and film lover living in Austin, Texas.
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