I knew it wasn’t going to be an ordinary day. Not only did I manage to pick up some Philip K Dick anthologies in Oxfam and Karda Estra sent me their latest release inspired equally by 14th Century writer Giovanni Boccaccio and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, but I also find the latest Jezus Factory offering at the top of my “to do” pile. Maybe today just exists in some sort of parallel existence, which would be very fitting indeed for what issues from my speakers.
Although not familiar with Radboud Mens, a quick search reveals his work is as much based in the area of audio-instillation-as-art, as much as it is in conventional recordings. Craig Ward, however, I am familiar with and associate his name with such a wide genre of music that you have to go into any album he is part of with a totally open mind.
Drive To Taxonomy is a five chapter sound painting, the concept of conventional song structure is abandoned in any shape or form and what remains is an ever evolving sonic shape, dynamics that rise and fall at a glacial pace built round a central droning core sound. You could try to label the music but even terms such as ambient and mood music fall far short of what is being explored, here. This is sound manipulation rather than conventional composition, though there are more structured moments that could easily provide an alternative soundtrack to the ahead of its time Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack.
This is really music with no middle ground. To one set of music consumers it will act as the perfect background sound, music to chill out to and consume through osmosis. At the other extreme the techno-geek will sit listening intensely, stroking his beard as he tries to figure out a way to emulate such otherworldly machine music. Either way it is like little you have heard before (other Jezus Factory releases excepted) sitting somewhere equidistant between the background hum of the universe, alien signals, the soundtrack to an acid trip and music as art.