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Applebaum, Mark – “Speed Dating” – [Innova Recordings]

Phil Phactor   6/13/2018   A Library, CD

Mark Applebaum teaches at Stanford and his compositions are said to pose “challenges to the conventional boundaries of musical ontology.” He has also given a TED talk on boredom. Both of these facts come to mind when listening to the first three tracks of this CD, which comprise the piece “Three Unlikely Coroporate Sponsorships.” The composer is credited with playing ‘rant,’ but it’s a strange sort of ranting. Each movement starts with a spoken brand name, repeated, slowly morphing into other words, related in sound but not in meaning, decorated with cookie cutter glitches and delivered at hyper-speed. It’s something like a manic version of Amirkhanian’s text-sound compositions. It’s certainly not boring, but is it enjoyable?

The other tracks are more conventional, at least on the surface. Clicktrack (T7) delivers an array of percussive sounds arranged in Cagean fashion. Skeletons In The Closet (T4) features eight analog synths squelching and belching away, and the title track (T5) is your source for classic dissonant string sounds.

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