Culture Rover

# 23 - Sound Chaos Noise Order Discuss

Eyvind Kang and Tucker Martine, Orchestra Dim Bridges (Conduit Records)

Glimpses into the world of Orchestra Dim Bridges: somber dirges, floating cloud rhythms, bass lines dripping down earphone buds like wax off candlebras, lonesome crow violin cries, bubbling fizzes of digitized static, bits and bytes of wind through bamboo flutes, rusted pipes, pots and pans clanking on some lost hobo's rucksack, a monk's chattering bells at dawn in a mountain retreat, on the horizon the hint of a city skyline's order and assembly into an architecture, a groove, then the people skitter and skatter, disorderly like so many field mice, nibbling at the foundations. Two guys on the corner in the late afternoon sun, no hats out for tips, railroads and rush hour emptying out the core, making a bit of song.

Kang and Martine have made an album of small but glorious pleasures: little sonic arguments about recognizable sounds (trumpet, violin, guitars, drums, bass, organ, piano) and the textural noise of everyday life (apartment ceiling creaks, construction machinery hums, jackhammers, power steering squealings, radios that don't tune in the station quite precisely, abandoned plastic bags rustling in the tree limbs, crickets, mosquitoes, mufflers, lawn mowers). The music offers a quiet, refined conversation about a larger, more noisy sonic debate, one between analog and digital sounds, a discussion that, in the end, is about the relationship between order and chaos.

This links the quiet reveries of Orchestra Dim Bridges to ongoing ideological debates about electronics and human bodies, the cross-cultural conduct of sound through the fluctuating channels of the mass media, the uneasy crossroads of avant-garde improv music and hip-hop with a splash of rock song form here and there (John Cage meet Timbaland with Thurston Moore in the front row).

The discussion rarely gets above a roar here, though usually people and machines are howling about the matter. That's what makes it so elegant, poised, pleasing, cool. It's a dreamy album, almost narcotic, haunting, addictive, folded, wrinkled, soft, secretive: a heady discussion, often shrieky-pitched elsewhere, here a suite of plaints and lullabies.

03 November 2004

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