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Album Review

De Man, Roderik – “Electrified Music” – [Electroshock Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/7/2013   A Library, CD

De Man, Roderik “Electrified Music”
More cerebral compositions from the recent batch of
Electroshock treatment applied to KFJC . This was first
out in 2004, and covers works dating back to 1998. De Man
is Dutch master of electroacoustic alchemy. De Man’s
machined sounds work with tight filters creating eerily
clean soundscapes. Several times on listening to this CD,
I recalled the Empreintes Digitales label that KFJC was
digging on back around the turn o’ the milennium. Pieces
often approach 10 minutes using tape and deceptively simple
sources (as listed in the booklet) to create very complex
work, nearly devoid of any repetition, but chock full of
dynamics. “Wait a Minute” is an exception, clocking in at
77 seconds, with sped up voices and operator assistance.
“Czar Peter’s Creation” is also unique, operatic rendition of
a Pushkin poem, with sound as a distant backdrop. All other
tracks pit measured silences versus flurries of notes, and
even with the familiar sounds or flute, recorder, timpani,
trumpet and harpsichord, there’s something about the arrangement
of notes and strangeness of the tape that has each piece feel
alien. “Chordis Canam” features hyper harpsichord plucked out
by De Man’s woman Annelise, who died in 2010, she is also on
“Momentum.” These compositions feel like beaming down on to
some unknown planet. You walk through them more than listen
easily to them. Surprises at many a step: that weird kid’s
ghost on “Chordis Canam” jazzy flourishes (conducted improv
or truly composed?) the racing Dreyblattian conclusion to
“Momentum”. Some overlap with an Emergo label release KFJC is lucky to have.
-Thurston Hunger

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