Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Random Touch - A True Conductor Wears a Man (2007)

Here's a review I wrote some years ago about the first Random Touch album I heard, A True Conductor Wears A Man.

Moving between the Random and the Planned 

The name of this group might give a hint at what is going on here. But then again, I don't think anything is random here, maybe not well planned ahead, but if this is random, then the outcome is one hell of an organized mess for such a thing, though improvisation seems to have been part of the process. 

This is not rock (though you will find some rock parts in it), not your average music or progressive music for that matter (but progressive it is, just not what is usually meant when I hear or read references to it). 

This is a mix of sounds made by various instruments in a way that creates some tunes, ambiances, atmospheric textures, energetic patterns and some melodic lines. You might have a more abstract and amorphic track, and then a clearer, more defined and structured one with one leading instrument rather than a mix of electronic sounds. 

This is indeed unique both in the way it's done and in the resulting music. 
I personally am greatly appealed to this form of music, this crafting of sounds. I find this to be not only original and exceptional, but also (and some might find it weird) beautiful and ear-friendly. While you might think that this is a mesh of sounds unrelated to one another, this is not at all the case. Every instrument used, every sound played is well accepted by its surroundings; everything fits, and the various combinations of different sounds gives at each given moment a different colour to the music. This, in fact, gives another complex and diverse aspect to the music. 

I find it fascinating how these musicians take what instruments they have at their disposal and then think what they'll do with it in such a special and captivating way. They go about from spacey bits to moments which to me represent more nervous, tense and erratic emotions. 

Not all tracks are to my taste in this album (track 5 – Something Worth Waiting For is one such track with spoken modified vocals). But overall, I find this album to be very creative and satisfying. There is a good flow to it, as the tracks move from one to the other in a way that keeps a certain continuity to it, following a hidden thread. It is not, however, an album I will play in any occasion. This is an album that I personally need to play when alone and probably at night, when I'm in a mood that will be more inclined to perceive such music.   

One other album this recording reminded me of, is Annie Gosfield's Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery which was released on Tzadik in 2001. Not at all the same sounding music, but I feel the same artistic drive in the use of not ordinary tools to create a special form of music. 

I think this should be tried out by people who think they want or can deal with music that is not made the "usual" way, music that can be abstract and formless many times, music that is not made up of tunes, or necessarily melodic. This will be a test to the minds of those that want a challenge. For those who are well-versed in this sort of music, I think you will find a very interesting album here, something to look for. 

I can imagine the faces of friends who, if heard this album, would be shocked that I listen to such noise and senseless babbling of notes and just pure racket. This album is obviously not intended for them. 
If you can appreciate both the intent and the execution of this type of music, then I would recommend this album to you. 

For those who dare…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any comments?