Friend: Inaccuracies and Omissions (Flying Nun)

 |   |  1 min read

Friend: First Easy Piece
Friend: Inaccuracies and Omissions (Flying Nun)

"Musique concrete" has generally had a bad rap. The problem lies in the "musique" part of the equation. Being constructed from found sounds or by mixing up sounds into some other form, musique concrete doesn't conform to a definition of "music" as most understand it. Put it this way: you can't whistle it.

So it's a courageous, inspired or art council-sponsored artist who enters the territory. Friend is actually Chris Knox, who is all of the above, and these nine pieces range from three brief "easy pieces" at less than two minutes of Protools-edited piano to lengthy things involving reprocessed field recordings (literally, in one case, Scrape, which began with the sound of raking rubbish off Ericsson Stadium) and the usual digging about in the belly of a piano.

If all this sounds unlistenable - or worse, masturbatory - it isn't. Knox creates spatial sense, tension and even humour as he takes (most of) the material far from its source while bringing his musical sensibilities to bear.

Cheap Jazz is a quizzical little affair of almost melodic scraping and ticking over a heartbeat, Insecticider is like a stoned, electro-ambient night at a mosquito pond, and Scrape is almost funky in places before it hits a middle section of amusingly irritating overtones and drones. 

A couple of the "easy pieces" sound too easy, but the 11-minute Heartbeat Whale Meat at the end, a rehit of Cheap Jazz with a discreet Tall Dwarfs rhythm added, is a quiet, sonic spaceflight through the subconscious.

No, it's obviously not for everyone but if the label "musique concrete" doesn't send you rushing for your Carpenters' greatest hits or the words "arts council-sponsored" don't have you firing off a stiff letter of disapproval to the Minister of Arts, then this is more than an indulgent digression.

Can't see any of it featuring on playlists - although it might be coming to a gallery installation, fringe festival or soundtrack near you soon.

.

These Further Outwhere pages are dedicated to sounds beyond songs, ideas outside the obvious, possibiltiies far from pop. Start the challenge here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Further Outwhere articles index

RATTLE RECORDS' SEVENTH HOUSE MUSIC IMPRINT (2021): Art for its own sake

RATTLE RECORDS' SEVENTH HOUSE MUSIC IMPRINT (2021): Art for its own sake

As noted recently, Elsewhere has opened a new page in our contents, Further Outwhere, which profiles sonic artists and music beyond song. We shifted a number of previous reviews and articles... > Read more

From Scratch: Global Hockets (Scratch)

From Scratch: Global Hockets (Scratch)

From their origins on PVC pipes and Jandals, through the incorporation of voices and here with the German electronic group Supreme Particles, From Scratch's explorations of rigorous and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

About now Real Groovy – the secondhand and new music store on Queen St in Auckland – is celebrating its 331/3 anniversary.... > Read more

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

When I imported this album in 1981 it was on the basis of faith: faith that the Melody Maker writer who had hailed it was on the money, that Brian Eno who appeared as a collaborator and on whose EG... > Read more