Drem Bruinsma

Six Reels of Joy

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Drem Bruinsma's 1991 CD Six Reels of Joy has for its source of inspiration and main unifying theme the 1990 Gulf War that followed Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. This war was the first to be extensively mediatized. Bruinsma recorded 21 short pieces (mostly between two and five minutes) with a handful of friends. These include Dirk Bruinsma (Otolithen, Blast) on saxophone, Ivan Georgiev, Nikolas Klau, Luc Van Lieshout, and Blaine L. Reininger, who recites some powerful verses on "A Shotgun Wedding" and "Nayee." Arabic sonorities permeate most nooks and crannies of this work: melodies, rhythms, even the choice of instruments reflects a desire to put the album in a Middle Eastern setting. The more structured songs aged quickly -- Bruinsma relied heavily on synthesizers and drum programming, but a few are quite nice, like "Shabazz," and recall the music of Robert Musso at the same time -- something like instrumental avant-funk with an Arabic twist. The best moments on the album are provided by atmospheric pieces: "The Global Village," "All but One," and "To Claim the Horizon" all follow a path that leads from new agey instrumental music to more experimental sound art. The use of radio and TV broadcasts provides historical perspective (and a creepy mood), but whatever the standpoint (new age, experimental), Six Reels of Joy is not completely satisfying.

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