Album Review

Muchmore, Pat – “BABEL fragments” – [Innova/American Composers]

Louie Caliente   9/5/2016   A Library, CD


Pat Muchmore is an American composer, cellist, and founder of punk-chamber group Anti-Social Music. He holds a Ph.D. from the City University of New York, where he wrote a dissertation entitled “Humanity and Mechanicity in the music of Nine Inch Nails”.

BABEL: fragments contains many short, abstract, chaotic pieces inspired by broken worlds and the impossibility of communication and true human connection. Meticulously detailed movements give fleeting impressions of cohesiveness, but shatter and disintegrate before your ears, as the radio dial turns and new and obscure sounds come into focus.

The album consists of four works (with impossibly difficult names), each divided into many tracks (with even more impossible names):

Tracks 1-11: f(f(4))[Kr]5s^(1)18d^(1):}{Fr.I.a-k

Eleven “short stories” for string quartet. Explorations of dissonance. Staccato screeches. Longing poetic drones. Hitchcock-esque stabs and shards. Sophisticated skronk.

Tracks 12-16: BABEL(maya)f(f(1))

The real name of this work includes Mayan and Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Muchmore has a 25 minute YouTube video explaining the significance of the title alone. In this piece, dark electronics and soprano vocals combine with the strings, giving a more somber and threatening tone.

Tracks 17-27: Fr.II.a-k

Similar to the first piece, but for solo Scordatura (miss-tuned) cello. More bizarre, dissonant chords. Introspective and longing.

Tracks 28-32: SESHACH(maya)f(f(3))

Again impossible Mayan and Egyptian hieroglyphics (this time with a 30-minute video explanation). A 5-movement piece with Ken Thomson on sax and clarinet and Muchmore on electronics. A bit noisier and punkier than the rest. Partially written in Babylonian Cuneiform notation, inspired by the Cantor Set (a fractal set that is uncountable yet has measure 0), and the nonlinear dynamics of predator/prey populations.

you heard it 11 times on kfjc! most recently:
  • 628 days ago, Bryan Chandler played a. Al-Gharaniq IIII Augsburg, Deutschland -- Montag, 23. Ma
  • 1867 days ago, Louie Caliente played I. PortRait_8,**NYC10
  • 1869 days ago, Cousin Mary played I. PortRait_8,**NYC10
  • 1874 days ago, Tim Horton played b. BA_32..Budapest, Magyar Koztarsasag -- 2011. V. 30, Hetf
  • 1876 days ago, Herb Rockwell played II. BA_26..B/A/B/E/L/bA_26.5
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