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Monday, July 25, 2011
Extreme Avant Garde From Eli Keszler: "Oxtirn" in A New Expanded CD Version
I imply that there is a vast difference in outlook and result between Bach and Keszler. I suppose that would be an understatement. Oxtirn IS a body of music that, like Bach's Suite, is produced entirely through human hands playing instruments of a non-electronic sort (except perhaps there is feedback from microphones, not sure of that). In Keszler's case you get drums, crotales, guitar, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, trombone, piano, plus unconventional sound making devices--like motors, sheet metal, spring harp and other prepared metal objects. The conventional instruments are not played conventionally much of the time, either. It is a great symphonic cacophony of noise sculpture that results. The LP version came out last year and sold out. This new CD version adds a third sonic event, which is a good addition, not an afterthought.
Oxtirn does what it does with a certain amount of excellence. Many people may find it unbearable. It is not music to put on at all but the most Bohemian cocktail parties, and even then this might be something for the very end of that get together, as it may well drive out the guests.
Nonetheless Keszler and his several cohorts make a very good job of it. As far as extreme avant music goes, this one deserves a serious hearing. It has some of the home-made sonic iconoclasm of Kagel's Acoustica (for those who know that piece), only it is far more grating.
Be warned, be entraced, be infuriated. That's your job as the audience. It's not music that you'll forget quickly.