Various Artists

Musik Oblik: Musics in the Margin, Vol. 2

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Musik Oblik is the second installment in the Sub Rosa label's series of outsider music Musics in the Margin, and it is definitely a stronger -- and wilder -- proposition. In fact, it is all over the place. "Outsider music" is approached with a panoramic lens. First up are five weird, pathetic tracks by two non-musicians: Germany's Klaus Beyer, whose cover of "Hey Jude," with its badly stitched loops and clueless vocals, is the most confounding Beatles interpretation in the book; and Quebec's Normand L'Amour, who lets his keyboard randomly build a backbeat and chord sequence over which he improvises lyrics about the most inane things -- both men have had their 15 minutes of fame in local media. These will appeal to fans of psychotronic music -- the ultimately weird, so-bad-it-gets-good kind. Then comes the most striking track on the album, the most profoundly moving, too: Baudouin Oosterlynck's "Oratorio," a piece of musique concrète using the voices of mentally handicapped people, some slowed down to a dirge, others eerily clear in the music, all mumbling senseless words, but the material is approached with such reverence that the result is uncannily poignant. Following are two free improvisation groups with mentally challenged members, one of which is led/overseen by Flat Earth Society drummer Teun Verbruggen -- not bad at all. Then we get to a series of short violin pieces taken from outsider painter Adolf Wölfli (he occasionally added snatches of scored melodies to his drawings and paintings) performed by Baudouin de Jaer. The album concludes with a 16-minute piece of filtered radio-television transmissions by Jacques Brodier. Musik Oblik's proposition will probably be too vast for most listeners, as it moves from totally warped outsider pop to conceptual musique concrète to punkish free improv to Baroque-style violin music. But the Oosterlynck piece is very much worth discovering.

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