Album Review

Wishart, Trevor – “Fanfare and Contrapunctus / Imago” – [Pan]

abacus   7/17/2012   12-inch, A Library

Three pieces by composer Trevor Wishart, a visionary sound artist who has experimented with modern classical and musique concrete since the mid 70s. Side A contains two free improvisations from 1976, produced at the electronic studio at the Sydney Conservatorium before the birth of computer music. Fanfare begins with some constipated whale sounds on french horn / “soft trumpets” that are chopped and warbled in a flurry of bubbly shapes and textures. Grandiose and regal as the name suggests but in very twisted form. Contrapunctus brings the study of counterpoint to a hilariously disturbing extreme with cartoonish vocals and toy sounds chaotically emerging from the familiar warped horn wanderings. Side B is one sidelong piece composed in 2002 using the sound of 2 whiskey glasses clinking together to morph and manipulate a la computer software. Radical transformation of simple sounds into a complex array of images without ever fully abandoning its source. Minimal in approach yet dynamic and immersive in scope. Despite the organic source material, these pieces have a very animated and synthetic feel, infected throughout by Wishart’s demented sense of humor.

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