OK, I have lost sight of mainland music and am adrift in waters uncharted by Ave Noctum. Considering what we do cover that is some achievement. So we’ll start with the basics: What is music? When I was in school I was once in a music class and was posed this question by the teacher. After a fair bit of discussion the eventual definition was ‘a noise deliberately made to be listened to.’ I’ll go with that still, even if it does include doorbell chimes and pedestrian crossings as it also excludes most mainstream ‘music’ as that is a noise deliberately made to be sold. Ha! Take that Beyonce!
Cynicism aside this is decidedly an odd album. Firstly there is the word ‘radionics’ (Wiki) which to sum up is the diagnosis and treatment of disease by certain sound frequencies and as such lives in the same pseudoscience toybox as crystal healing and homeopathy. In this case it also stretches to frequencies created to convey a thought and create an outcome. Track 1 for example is the traditional optimism of ‘Healing Chakras’. Then there is the even more optimistic track 2 ‘Peter Send Me Money So I Can Fix The Boat You Promised Me’. Thankfully not being called Peter I am seemingly immune but I guess Thee Ed should be wary of this in case he gets the sudden urge to fund the Royal Navy…
These ‘thought frequencies’ were submitted by members of the public through a webpage and collected, collated and manipulated into the tracks here by Daniel R. Wilson, an electronic and electroacoustic musician. The result is kind of weird-ass and weirdly compelling.
Essentially it is these submitted ‘thought frequencies’ twisted into something that vibrates like Brownian motion between random electronic ‘plink plonk’ and actual identifiable melody. Sometimes the result is just a little old horror film sinister (‘Herpes’), other times an off kilter tweeness (‘Social Media – More Friends’) which is kind of like an end of pier organ slowly sliding into the sea. There’s an air of early eighties experimental electronics pervading the album, a style weirdly reminiscent to my ears of early efforts by The Human League before they got fed up of being skint and decided to become pop stars, with simple but sometimes discordant picked notes falling into the tune like individual raindrops and often an underlying buzz like on the hypnotic ‘Mood’.
This also came as a finished CD in excellent packaging explaining its genesis and with a highly informative booklet delving into Radionics themselves. Emblazoned with the ‘part funded by the Arts Council’ logo, it underlines that this is a complete artistic work from the physical to the music even if there is a wry smile often to be found lurking within.
Serious, fun, weird, ambient, intriguing; it is all of these and no doubt a couple of other things as well. Definitely one for the curious.