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Museum Of Science (USA) - 2004 - "Oblique Music for Soundtracks"
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro to Science 1:26 2. Phizzuck 3:10 3. HandiStrap 2:41 4. Scuba 4:29 5. Shortwave 2:57 6. Punta Cana Shuffle 2:01 7. De Mundo 1:58 8. Paper or Plastic 2:34 9. Dance Camp 3:43 10. How to Win 4:10 11. Earth Has No Rings 3:02 12. Bad Thai 2:04 13. Cowboy Dick 1:04 14. Excuse Me Ricky 3:37 15. Mangoes Forward 1:42 16. Powrkieen 3:29 17. Unnamed-1 0:30 18. Unnamed-2 4:55 All tracks: by MOS. Produced & engineered by MOS. LINE-UP: LaBaron - keyboards; programming; vocals Dr. Bunson Honeyjones - drums & percussion M.C. Foodcourt - guitars & bass; cello
Prolusion. The full title of the hero of this review is "Oblique Music for Soundtracks That Don't Exist". This is the debut by the MUSEUM OF SCIENCE, hailing from New Hampshire, USA. The real names of the band members are Sean Larose, Jon McCormack and Jamie Perkins. First I thought these are youngsters, but the photograph in the CD press kit they look rather like middle-aged men.
Synopsis. According to the CD booklet, the 49-minute "Oblique Music" consists of sixteen tracks, divided into four separate parts, each being of a different concept: The Natural World (tracks 1 to 4), Trans-Oceanic Trilogy (5 to 7), Man and Technology (8 to 12), and Frontiers of the Mind (13 to 16). In fact, there are eighteen tracks on the CD, and of course, the last two in the track list above have been named:-) by yours truly. Overall, the album depicts an approach to creating musical forms, which is of a vastly different intellectual stratum than most of the music I listen to, even though the contents of precisely half of the tracks correspond to the sense that the album's title suggests. These are the three shortest, lasting less than one and a half minutes (1, 13, & 17), the very last track, and all of the available songs: Phizzuck, HandiStrap, Scuba, How to Win, and Mangoes Forward. The instrumentals are entities of the so-called sound design, and although the songs are quite radically different from them, they also suit my conception of soundtracks, including those that don't exist, as the cinematic essence of the phenomenon doesn't imply much variety. If I had to figure out the style of the songs as correctly as possible, I would tell you that this is kind of a modernist psychedelic Rock blended with electronic Minimalist music and Hip-Hop (which is Rap with an audible musical background) with the odd progressive touch. I can't tolerate Rap and anything, which is "hip" in general, but I must admit that the music as such is unusual, just as I've mentioned above, and is original, so the word modernist has been put in the previous sentence not aimlessly. While performed mainly with acoustic drums, the parts of which are as diverse here as everywhere they are, the songs are a bit overloaded with sequenced synthesizer solos, loops and the like systematic cycles, keeping a robotically hypnotic rhythm, which, unlike themes and mood, remains unchangeable in most cases. There is less space for real soloing instruments (electric guitar, bass, drums and piano plus cello and percussion in places) than on any of the remaining nine tracks, all of which are more diverse and interesting. Seven of these: Shortwave, Punta Cana Shuffle, De Mundo, Dance Camp, Earth Has No Rings, Bad Thai, and Powrkieen are made up of intermixed psychedelic, heavy, and electronic structures with some avant-garde and classic progressive features. Even the overdubbed sampled voices, that most of them are abound with, don't hinder developing instrumental arrangements. Excuse Me Ricky is mainly a heavy and dense music of a moderate complexity, which I see as New Metal leaning towards psychedelic Progressive. Paper on Plastic is tasty, but is immediately accessible. This is the light modern variation on classic Blues with the piano passages and solos of bass taking the lead throughout.
Conclusion. M.C. Foodcourt and Dr. Bunson Honeyjones! Please tell your college LaBaron that Rap is not just the matter of taste with regard to Music, and the excessive use of sequencers and samples has no impact on Music lovers. A combination of cinematic textures and soloing on top of them, the album has a rather strong experimental feel almost everywhere and is too complex to become fashionable, and of course, it won't attract rappers and fans of pop music alike. I wish the band were more consistent with Music principles or move in a completely different direction (which is you know what). Recommended with reservations.
VM: August 19, 2004
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