Album Review

Bad News From Houston – “In The Valley of The Cloudbuilder” – [Post-Consumer]

Max Level   5/21/2013   A Library, CD


I’ve been enjoying listening to this but it did take me a few plays to get a handle on it. I decided that the general thrust of this material is something that combines recognizable music with pure sound– a cool space to work in. The protagonists Thollem McDonas (pianos/sounds) and John Dieterich (guitars/sounds) need little introduction, as their various projects and bands and collaborations have been making waves for a number of years. But what’s going on here is probably different from what we may have heard them do before. The instruments sound to me as though they might be mic’d in unusual ways, emphasizing the percussive, hands-on, non-musical aspects of playing music, if that makes sense. The music is fragmented, extended techniques (I think) are sometimes used in playing it, and there are some sounds in the mix that come from who knows where… all of which encourage the question of whether this is about music or sound or both. Being about both is not a bad thing.

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