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Monday, January 9, 2012

Alexander Berne and The Abandoned Orchestra, Flickers of Mime/Death of Memes

After years away from music, reedman/ composer Alexander Berne got the call in his being to go into the studio and put down music that had in whatever way gestated within him for more than a decade. The product of many hours of layering sound carefully and doubtless arriving at a combined "orchestration" meticulously as he painted tone colors on a digital canvas, the result is a remarkable 2-CD set, Flicker of Mime-Death of Memes (Innova 804). It's a battery of standard, altered or radically modified wind instruments along with prepared piano, wine glass, vacuum cleaner, lap steel guitar and so forth--that he uses to build up startling ambiances and resonant, ever-shifting space-drone transformations.

It has a primal quality, as he makes note of in the accompanying liners, but it also is extraordinarily sophisticated in its use of transformed sounds--not through electronic filtering but through careful layering and mixing over time. It's a sound-color tour de force, at once mystic and concrete, an orchestra of odd provenance creating otherworldly sounds.

It's rather remarkable, very listenable and pretty much like nothing else in its poetic, sound-sculpting consistency. One of the most original extended soundscapes I've heard.

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