Cody Oliver

Solo Acoustic/Electronic

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This admirable effort by a young musician based in Calgary, Alberta, is a solo project in the sense of a collection of pieces that he organized or directed in some way and then chose and edited together for this collection. There is only a bit more than ten minutes of Cody Oliver actually playing solo, with the other tracks consisting mostly of duets plus "Piece for Acoustic Quintet." The latter creation employs the little-heard sousaphone and surely must be the strangest material this marching-band instrument has ever played. The disc goes through a wide range of contrasting landscapes, as if it was a steam engine not limited to existing railways or geographical realities. The listener will probably be surprised to find out the entire program is a bit less than a half-hour long, since there is more substance than can be found on many recordings of twice this length. The editing is great, with Oliver slapping the listener in the face with jump cuts and providing even the most jaded noise music ear with new tingles. Oliver performs on acoustic bass, a rich source of sounds for this type of music as well as a propulsive force, and also is heard on guitar, turntables, keyboards, and electronics. This is not to mention his credits on dishes, refrigerator, and styrofoam -- all told, the guy seems like a handy fellow to have around. His "Three Seasons" is a stunning short piece for bass and tape, a context that sometimes has resulted in boredom. There are listeners out there who whine about a supposed "glut" of homemade compact discs from improvisers, but the activity should really be supported if the outcome is as excellent as this.

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