Album Review

Wightman, David – “Magnum Opus ” – [Ratface Dreamangel]

Jawbone   1/6/2008   A Library, CD

David Wightman (Powdered Wigs, Extreme Animals, Fortress of Amplitude) tries his hand at serious (or is it?) composing with ???Magnum Opus???, performed here by the 15 member Fresh Clap Ensemble and conducted by Nicholas Deyoe:

1. First Movement (4:48) A short beginning burst, then imperceptibly low volume for 30 seconds; Baroque-like snippets; loud/ quiet parts. It reminds me of one of my favorite Baroque composers, the bizarre and obscure Bohemian Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, but with frustrating disparities of volume level.

2. Second Movement (16:37) Starts with a weird take on the first movement of Beethoven???s 5th (first minute), morphs into a quiet repetitive Phillip Glass-like minimalist section (four minutes), then a Glenn Branca wall of noise (for ten minutes), a couple of false endings, and a cutesy Mary Had a Little Lamb-like ending (one minute).

3. Third Movement (7:47) Akin to Barber???s Adagio, the best, most serious movement is all but ruined with a drum kit coming in near the end and some noodling proggy electric guitars.

San Diego based Wightman has to have his hands in everything, with the ambient/ prog/ metal of Fortress of Amplitude, the electro-funk/ cabaret/ hardcore beats of Extreme Animals and the pseudo-classical/ electro-modulation/ sampling of Powdered Wigs. Maybe with time and effort he can become a serious composer with original, interesting ideas.


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