Phil Minton

(For) Friends and Neighbo(u)rs

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(For) Friends and Neighbo(u)rs may seem like an innocuous enough title, as each track is dedicated to different persons who presumably are known to the musicians. But listener beware -- unless you are familiar with the subversive nature of G√ľnter Christmann and Phil Minton, you may find their resulting clamorous and pointilistic devices very difficult to appreciate. The rewards are there for those who do weather the storm with an open attitude. Minton and Christmann specialize in little sounds, the sort that the unaccustomed or untrained ear might confuse with random noise. Almost everything imaginable is here: wind, burps, knocks, taps, clangs, whistles, bird calls, and a myriad of variable bleeps. There is no melodic content, of course, and it almost sounds randomly thrown together -- and it is -- at least in the sense that it is completely freely improvised. Yet there is logic to it, one that defies the standard ways of doing things, instead opting for a total destruction and subversion of usual harmonies, melodies, and chord progressions. Some of it is disturbing: the screams, wobbly tones, and deep and gravely voices. All of it is fascinating, in that you are unlikely to have ever heard a voice as elastic or a cello or trombone as extraordinary. It is ultimately great fun, but you have to be ready to immerse yourself in the ride to appreciate it. Just don't confuse it with background music or jazz or anything else with which you are familiar.

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