VA: Deconstructive Music
More Mars

A large-scale project of some significance, Deconstructive Music contains three hour-long CDs featuring works by twenty-eight artists who were asked to sonically represent 21 st -century music either deconstructed to bare form or constructed from various media fragments; enhancing the set are inserts that display corresponding images and sometimes supplementary text for the artists' pieces. A product of Greek imprint More Mars, the release should be catnip for experimental music lovers, considering the involvement of artists like Carlos Giffoni, David Daniell, Osso Bucco, and zeitkratzer; not surprisingly, given the range of contributors, a wide spectrum is covered: field recordings, voice experiments, industrial settings, fractured guitar pieces, ambient micro-sound, and seething noise variations that can be, shall we say, a bit hard on the ears (Fervent's “Nerver 2,” Osso Bucco's “Roofstop Gull,” Giffoni's “Something Out of Nothing,” DannyL's “ventolina”).

Ateleia's (James Elliott) “Demystifying in Order to Mystify Better” immediately sets the mood with a combustible firestorm. Julien Ottavi opens his piece with a splatterstorm of noise and then punctuates passages of near-silence with pummeling blasts. At first heard alongside the high-pitched glisten of electrical wires, crackling and shuffling noises swell into a cyclone of violent activity in Anthony Guerra's “Dry.” Threnody Ensemble works traditional Greek music samples in amongst its guitar drones, while the rich ensemble sound zeitkratzer brings to Reinhold Friedl's “Global Concern No 1” helps distinguish it from the other contributors' less full-bodied pieces. There's also Contemporary Punk Unit's convulsive stabs and the biting squawk of Bill Horist's electric guitars.

Deconstructive Music is reminiscent of one of those early Mille Plateaux compilations where the ideas of Deleuze and Guatarri were used as a prod for sonic exploration, with the Derrida-associated “deconstruction” concept the impetus in the present case. Listeners unfamiliar with its meaning (Ottavi likens “deconstructive music” to a strategy for “re-interrogating our relation to time and space through sound”) needn't worry as the collection can be “enjoyed” on its own terms. Predictably, not all of it's compelling—field recording settings by TMP and as11 go on longer than necessary, and Stasis Duo's closing “11.42” is virtually silent—but there's enough worth hearing to recommend it for adventurous listeners.

July 2008