[20040049] Music of Transparent Means

Music of Transparent Means

Music of Transparent Means @ Bakehouse Theatre

8:00pm, Mon 1 Mar 2004

Score: 6

Short Review: Patchy noise-fest

Entering the intimate Bakehouse Theatre, the first thing you notice is the variety of drums, keyboards, saxes, digital gear, and even old tube amps that litter the stage. 20 musicians appear and, all utilising tom-tom drums, watch a single computer screen for cues on timing and rhythm.

Backed by a video projection of various images, Music of Transparent Means is a collection of interesting noise landscapes. The second piece, “Second Presencing”, was deep, murky, and sinister, with wonderfully controlled swells of volume. “Emerging Like an Infant From the House of Truth” was another cracker, essentially just groups of notes repeated over and over by the small ensemble of musicians at different frequencies, building to a brilliant crescendo.

Still, sometimes it all went wrong – “Husk” once again tried to attain a phasic swelling of notes, but too often the sax and bowed guitars clashed, creating a discordant mess. And the first piece after the interval, a reworking of John Cage’s “Fontana Mix”, reminded me of a D&D night – four guys sitting around a table, twiddling their knobs, doing something that may have been exciting for them, but not for us.

But the important thing to recognise is that Music of Transparent Means is not just random noise, but is in fact as ordered (if not more so) than “normal” music. That said, ordered or not, it can still be perceived as crap – “Fontana Mix” proved that point admirably. Still, MoTM should be applauded for presenting such a brave piece of work.

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