Marcelo Radulovich

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In the tradition of some of John Zorn's experimental group recordings, this album succeeds at various levels in its ability to combine disparate sounds, including noise, into a coherent whole. Like Zorn, Marcelo Radulovich acts in the joint role of performer and catalyst/leader, combining clips and snippets of sound at an alarming rate. Radulovich's palette is unique, using some everyday sounds, such as a ringing telephone; snippets from country singer Hank Williams; and static, and throwing them together in a big pot. The results may not be charming, but they are intriguing and even discombobulated, disturbing, and tormenting -- in a word, fascinating. Words and phrases are endlessly repeated, horns blare from the rafters for split seconds, and ambient tones intermingle with it all. Along the way, Radulovich inserts what he calls "phonographies," which are excerpts from live scenes, such as street musicians in Costa Rica or a random aural snapshot of downtown San Francisco. While it may appear oddball at first blush, there is such variety and a sense of wonder that it somehow pulls together delightfully. There are no melodies (at least that last for more than a few seconds), and at times the repetition of some of the less-challenging electronic sounds is either soothing or somewhat tiring depending on perspective, but ultimately, it is like the weather in so many American cities: If you don't like it, just wait a few minutes (or in this case, seconds), and it will change.

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