Random Touch - Hammering On Moonlight

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Roadnoise Productions
Catalog Number: RNP53862
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:14:00

It's somewhat misleading to refer to a piece of music, or several pieces as "indescribable," because one can describe them, even though it may take thousands of words and just as many references to paint an accurate word-picture. Fear not, this is not my prelude to a novel length review. The music -- or in some cases, noise -- on Random Touch's Hammering On Moonlight is indescribable. At least to a certain extent. We could call it abstract art of the darkest sort. It clangs and bangs, but is in no way industrial. A track like "Wall To Wall Shadows" is minimalist in instrumentation where random sounds (strums, percussion crashes, drums) punctuates thoughts and ideas - thoughts and ideas in a spoken word story that at first glance reminds one of Jim Morrison/The Doors' "The End," but it isn't quite that hauntingly poetic. The textures are angularly ambient - more sparse than King Crimson, sharper and more jagged than King Crimson. The opening track, "Crazy In Blue," is a chittering, atmospheric track haunted by singing voices that sound like the ghostly cries of Native American spirits. That is before Christopher Brown's highly processed and chilly vocals swoop in, percussion, sound effects, bass trail in behind -- like deliriously stoned hippies crashing a solemn ritual and woozily taking over. Actually, it's a bit Hendrixian in its trippiness, only far more sludgy and without any fiery guitar leads. Vocal effects also characterize - literally and figuratively - "The Deepness Of Things." That is, they are the prominent element (the instrumentation is exceedingly sparse) while they also draw the character of the piece. The phrasing of the lyrics - and their written presentation - suggest the South (a bit of drawl, use of the word "ain't") -- a stereotypical characterization perhaps, as there is also a strong suggestion the speaker is (or meant to be) black.

There is an otherworldly sense to the music as well ("Getting Your Way"), in that paranormal, X-Files, kinda way. Some of the internal artwork - overexposed photographs and other photographic effects (by Brown and his (I presume) wife Dana) -- underscore this impression. The other sense of "out there" is given by the title track which puts percussion front and center, using keyboards as others might place trumpet and sax. A frenetic Miles Davis, only as the track gets heavier and thicker, those keys become more key like darting and zooming all over the landscape. Chapman Stick provides the guitar and bass like elements in tone that falls somewhere between the two. This piece more into the realm of avant-garde than almost anywhere else, and maybe no more so than here do King Crimson come to mind; only this piece seems far jazzier. Percussive piano (do not think Emerson, though) brings this jazzy feel into another, yet still avant-garde direction in "Moonlight In My Veins." It's moodier, a bit angry, those piano tones slashing and banging down across the upbeat rhythm laid out by snappy drumming and walking bass.

And jazz is a stronger element in the track that follows, the briefly drawn "Sounds Like Fun" which incorporates xylophone and piano-like sounds into the palette - a much lighter and lyrical aspect that lasts all to briefly - it bridges the dark jazz of "?Moonlight" and the moodier jazz of "Moonlight?"

Random Touch are Brown on DW drumset, Zendrum/Kurzweil K2500rs, "miscellaneous pecussion and processors, Pro Tools 24 Mix Plus and 'ready made' instruments," and vocals; James Day on Alesis QS8/Kurzweil K2500rs, Kurzweil K2500, and "'ready made' instruments;" with guest Joe Zymonas on Chapman stick for most tracks, Kurzweil K2000 on a few, Zeta Electric upright bass on a track and Roland V drums on another.

I didn't care for this at all on first listen through, and the jury's still out on "Wall To Wall Shadows." Unless you have a taste for avant-garde jazz, you may never come to like this. This is art that is beautiful in its ugliness.

Crazy In Blue (9:41) / Drunken Parade (4:23) / Metallic Atoms In A Cloud Of Gas (2:59) / Wall To Wall Shadows (4:24) / Getting Your Way (3:49) / The Deepness Of Things (4:47) / Hammering On Moonlight (7:28) / Sounds Like Fun (1:37) / Moonlight In My Veins (9:30) / What Do You Mean When You Wonder? (6:07) / Fat Daddy-O (5:29)

Christopher Brown ? DW drumset, vocals, Zendrum/Kurzweil K2500rs, miscellaneous percussion and processors, Pro Tools 24 Mix Plus and "ready-made" instruments
James Day ? Alesis QS8/Kurzweil K2500rs, Kurzweil K2500, and "ready made" instruments
Joe Zymonas ? Chapman Stick (1,3,4,5,7,9,10,11), Kurzweil K2000 (1,6,9), Zeta Electric Upright Bass (2), Roland V-drums (8)

Unautomate (1999)
Places We Go (2001)
Hammering On Moonlight (2002)
A Parade of Dusty Hobos (2003)
The You Tomorrow (2004)
The Elegence Of Falling (2005)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.randomtouch.com
Hits: 818
Language: english


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