There and Back Again is Chris Cutler's follow-up to his found sound CD Twice Around the Earth. Once again, the continuous work consists of a collage of excerpts taken from field recordings commissioned from and submitted by various friends and artists from around the world for his daily Resonance FM radio show Out of the Blue Radio. Therefore, Cutler's building blocks include scenes from the daily life, snippets of conversation (even a bit of interview with Pauline Oliveros), rehearsals, and various urban and nature recordings. Some of these are even taken from submissions previously used on the first CD. However, the compositional approach is different. Whereas Twice Around the Earth abode to certain rules and showed a careful sense of follow-through, There and Back Again was much more arbitrarily put together -- a deliberate decision. The piece is therefore more chaotic; it makes less "sense" the first time around. On the other hand, the structure of the piece plays funny tricks on the listener's memory. The first 30 minutes feature 44 indexed excerpts, all crossfaded. Index 45 is a 20-minute trip back through the previous 44 excerpts, in accelerated fashion -- a recontextualization that will unmistakably lead you to thoughts like "Haven't I heard this before?" The piece contains a few striking moments of serendipity, and it does make for an interesting listen if you are into sound art, but it won't grab and pull you along like Twice Around the Earth did.
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