Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Philip Glass- Hydrogen Jukebox (1990)

Bizzare, funny, strange in every way, fun, entertaining, interesting, boring, annoying, refreshing, insightful, silly, expressive.

I've been indulging in more minimalism than usual (calculus has something to do with this), and if im going to go about making a stupid attempt to summerize what is said by this music, i figure i should do so in a thoroughly repetitive and austere manner. Would Glass be proud?

"Allah sent me here!" Allen Ginsberg proclaims, narrating portions of the text, in between the choir steps in and wails away, accompanied by synthesizers and drums. There are echos of dance music, popular music, jazz and certainly the spectre of the 80s. oh, those 80s.

The music is in two parts and 16 songs. Its odd to hear a baritone sing "cocksucker", but at the same time, its surprisingly beautiful. Theres lyricism here, and maybe a touch of banality. And though i've already used that term "minimalism" im not afraid to contradict it- as this music isnt minimalism proper, its minimalistic, assuredly, but it aint no Einstein on the Beach.

But i've gotta say, all this vibrato in contemporary music detracts from the music's ability to reflect the contemporary world. Heavy, operatic vibrato sounds nothing short of old, outdated and ugly.

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