The Hafler Trio

Mastery of Money

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Mastery of Money is the second part of a trilogy the Hafler Trio released in the early 1990s. Each release in the series (the others are Kill the King and How to Reform Mankind) has similar oversize packaging, including a booklet with texts and photos for each piece on the CD. Musically the trilogy explores similar territory as well, with less emphasis on recognizable voices and more on field recordings, layered loops, and drones. "Empty Rooms and Their Occupants," for example, is a long drone piece with active inner sounds, fading in and out, subtly changing pitch while maintaining a steady state. "Callibre" and "Eloise C" are both based on field recordings. The former contains sirens, church bells, car horns, sounds of walking, announcement voices, all surrounded by a gentle outdoor-like ambience. The latter is more abstract, with wind sounds combined with radio static and frequency manipulation. The group still plays with perceptions, but additionally they have now moved their attention to the CD itself. Although there are titles and credits for seven pieces, the album contains 34 tracks which bear no relation to the pieces at all, but instead comprise two very long tracks (46:34 and 27:50) which sandwich 34 tracks so short that they are under the standard for track length, all one to three seconds in duration. All of the short tracks are contained within Splitting the Stick. The album's closing moments are the laugh box, a toy from the late 1960s with a built-in belly laugh, an echoing and reverberating commentary from this mysterious group.

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