Shiver me timbres. What makes a label like FMR so damned important in the scheme of things, particularly in a consumer's climate where experimental music sales are on a razor's edge, is their willingness to continually go out on a limb and issue discs like Electrosonics. Fearsome, fearful, and fearless, Dunmall and Gibbs are less concerned with any definable categorizations as they are with pure, unadulterated, unbridled expression: they're out on a stylistic limb as well here, and if they're not having a simply joyous time making their own brand of noise, well, then the 'ol ears must be on the blink and perhaps it's time for an audiological check-up. Regardless, these two mischievous blokes are altering your inner eardrum because to experience Electrosonics demands a reorientation of hearing: like Pauline Oliveros's deep listening mandates, this is also music that necessitates suspension of all activities other than concentrated listening.
Besides, merely cocking one's head to Electrosonics robs the inquiring ear of all its immeasurable charms. Instrumentation is sparse, but the sound palette surely isn't. Dunmall is equipped solely with the WX11 wind synthesizer, the MIDI interface of which allows him to control with breath alone infinite sonic options. Gibbs manhandles his guitar in the unconventional signatures similarly favored by colleagues Keith Rowe and Doug Theriault, the instrument recast as a nylon filibuster better suited for percussive arpeggiations that challenge the established order. What results is a particularly thorny collection of bristling textures that retain a stark sense of drama and a certain ragged cohesiveness; it's a music of right angles, tight curves, impossible shapes, jagged shards. Dunmall's long history of sax playing (usually in more traditional contexts) holds him in good stead here; any prior 'formalism' is absent but the human presence is keenly felt despite the technological implants (his intakes of breath can be discerned throughout the recording). Gibbs is just as no-holds-barred, crisscrossing and bisecting Dunmall's gestating squalls with a myriad of inventive gestures. The pair forge a common identity, albeit one that upends norms of musical expression, the vocabularies of which are birthed on the spot.
Discs like this — edgy, demanding of the listener, complicated and forthright in their execution — are indeed a rare breed. Dunmall and Gibbs's pain is our gain.
Comments and Feedback: