Marcus Schmickler

Amazing Daze

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AllMusic Review by

This collaboration between sound artist Marcus Schmickler and free-reed instrument player Hayden Chisholm is best summed up by its title, Amazing Daze. It consists of two 20-minute drone pieces designed to put listeners quickly into a dazed trance and keep them there, as long as they are willing to lose their grip on reality. In the title piece, dedicated to minimalist composer/filmmaker Phill Niblock, Chisholm plays the bagpipes, which are multiplied, evened out, and fractalized into odd harmonics by Schmickler and his electronics and computer. In the second track, titled "Infinity in the Shape of a Poodle," Chisholm plays shô, a traditional free-reed wind instrument from Japan. The sound spectrum of that piece is higher, with a glass-like quality, and it builds up almost to a frenzy as Schmickler plays more with wave patterns, pushing harmonics out of phase to make them collide in a menacing way. The shô's "real" line resurfaces in the last few seconds, frail and lonely, the improbable source of all the sonic turmoil that has just unfolded. The album works well as a study in microtonal droning, but it demands from the listener a strong commitment to the music -- get up for a glass of water and the magic is gone. And even if you stay fully attentive for the whole duration of the album, there is no guarantee that you will "feel" that magic operating. However, if you do, the experience is very special and worthy of your time.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
23:36
2
21:05
blue highlight denotes track pick