Tom Hamilton

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

, /10

Veteran electronic improviser and Robert Ashley's collaborator Tom Hamilton recorded his major solo album only two decades after his involvement with avantgarde music began: London Fix (2004).

Hamilton and jazz guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil, who had already released 12 albums on his own, joined forces to record (live in the studio) the duets of Shadow Machine (Pogus, 2009) that seem to hark back to the early electronic music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. In Dusting Off Dada Hamilton's synthesizer shoots random squirts of noise at the fractured guitar tones. In Dryer Mouth Eisenbeil's guitar emits chaotic noises that eventually evoke harsh electronic responses. A pretense of conventional harmony appears in Shadow Machine, but it's like two drunkards trying to intone a singalong. Dot Dot Dot is what the title implies: tinkling sounds that are so abstract that it's hard to tell which instrument is making them. In Walleye Spawn the synth emits what sound like tiny rodent noises while the guitar tries to articulate a robotic speech, until the electronics explodes and releases huge tidal drones. More small animals surface in The Salt Eaters, fighting against each other and against the nagging guitar. The synth's animals seem to scream in the first half of Little Left on the Left, as if terrified. Silver Through a Straw pits electronic crickets and crystal aliens against an obnoxious amateur Hendrix. These "linguistic" cases (driven more by Hamilton's choice of timbre than by the narrative sequence of events) constitute the best moments on the album. This recording represents Hamilton using the synthesizer as a highly creative and wildly dissonant instrument.

Local Customs (Mutable, 2009) is a work of collaborative electro-acoustic improvisation in which Tom Hamilton's timid and subdued synthesizer dialogs with the live instruments (flute, clarinet, trombone, bass, percussion), yielding the majestic adagio of Corral, the disjointed jazz fanfare of Counterpoint Four, the solemn lullaby of All the Mapping Shifted.

Pieces For Kohn/ Formal and Informal Music (Kvist, 2010) reissues early experiments produced during his years in St Louis. The electroacoustic poem Formal and Informal Music (Somnath, 1980) toys with fibrillating electronic pattern that evoke a rapid-fire remix of Terry Riley's Rainbow in Curved Air, free-jazz wind instruments and exotic percussion. The three-movement Crimson Sterling (Somnath, 1973) juxtaposes free-jazz cacophony, dadaistic electronic sounds and a simple fanfare of droning winds. Pieces for Kohn (Somnath, 1975) consists of four electronic pieces of the Morton Subotnick kind.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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