If Bwana is the project of Al Margolis (1955), who began producing tapes of dadaistic
noise in 1984.
The five compositions on Wah Yu Wan (Generations Unlimited, 1990) are, instead, almost ambient/new age in the way they flow organically and search for a cohesive structure.
If Bwana later released:
33 Birds Went (Pogus, 1995), with a female vocalist,
Jane Scarpantoni on cello, Brian Charles on clarinet, oboe and saxophone, Kevin Sparkle on percussion;
Breathing (Pogus, 1996), whose title-track (both tribal and droning)
Jane Scarpantoni on cello, Dave Prescott on dijeridu and Brian Charles on dijeridu and oboe;
Tripping India (Pogus, 1997), containing three pieces for tape manipulations of acoustic instruments (including 3 Out of 4 Ain't Bad for 3 different pianists playing 3 different pianos at 3 different times);
Clara Nostra (1999), a monumental composition for 106,476 clarinets, a rivised version of his old Horn & Hard Arts (1988);
and the double-CD I Angelica (2001).
Fire Chorus (Ants, 2004) compiles four compositions, including
Accidentally Angelica for cello and synthesizer, that was left out of
I Angelica (2001).
Rex Xhu Ping (Pogus, 2005) contains six electro-acoustic compositions.
Their quality is mixed.
Natraj is a concrete collage performed by Margolis alone (that evokes
the sounds of small underground animals in the forest, whatever the original
Frog Field does not use samples but only electronic sounds and a xylophone to compose a soothing blanket of minimalist repetition and ambient drones.
Quaderni is equally abstract and eerie (voices and other sounds are used as sources).
Oy Vey Angie is a haunting chamber piece, scored for accordion, organ, trombone, guitar, cello and the usual arsenal of electronic devices.
Other pieces are far less engaging and perhaps did not deserve to appear
next to these ones.
An Innocent Abroad (Pogus, 2007) contains two pieces by Margolis.
The 43-minute four-movement
An Innocent Abroad for electronics, vocals and flutes was created by
having the vocalist improvise a vocal track, then by multiplying the track,
then by feeding the tracks to flute improvisers, then by manipulating the
results. Whatever the process, the result is oneiric, languid and spaced-out,
almost psychedelic in nature.
The 19-minute Issue for electronics and multi-tracked voice falls in
the tradition of musique concrete and concocts a more dynamic processing of
the original vocals.
Favorite Encores (Pogus, 2008) collects four compositions by
Noah Creshevsky and three by If Bwana.
The latter are electronic poems that manipulate preexisting sources.
The female vocals are drowned in a majestic flow of slow-moving timbres in
Scraping Scrafide remixes a piano part from an older composition
but little is left of it in the high-tension counterpoint of electronic
noises. On the other hand, the female vocals take centerstage in
Cicada #4 - Barnard Mix, which is the only one of the three in which
the human element prevails (and lends a sense of angst to the proceedings).
Assemble Age (Mutable, 2010)
compiles five works that consist in reprocessing other people's performances.
Ringing The Bell reduces the Amsterdam-based microtonalists Trio Scordatura (Elisabeth Smalt on viola, Alfrun Schmid on voice and Bob Gilmore on keyboards) to a series of incomprehensible and incongruent drones.
Dtto Lisa uses recitation and singing by Lisa Barnard Kelley to compose
an anguished collage that sounds like a meditation on the human condition via
an audio documentary of ordinary life.
Brooding piano notes introduce Death to the 8 Notes, a recombination of
multitracked acoustic instruments (Monique Buzzarte's trombone, Jacqueline Martelle's flute, Tom Hamilton's synth) and Kelley's voice as they improvised with
Margolis on computer. The mood changes rapidly as the protagonists interact
and the digital soundscape morphs from intangible to abrasive to pastoral to vacuum fluctuations.
A similar ensemble Cicada #1 EHG Version crafts the menacing droning clusters that turn into torrid waterfalls of dissonance.
Six Minus 6 is a quiet sparse duet for multitracked trombone and voice,
a surrealist dialogue between two mentally insane protagonists.
Margulis peppers the proceedings with sophisticated pitchshifted techniques.
If Bwana's I Am Sitting In Phill Niblock's Kitchen (2012) documents a performance of april 2008 for kitchen noises and surrounding sounds with pianist Dan Warburton.
If Bwana's double-disc E (And Sometimes Why) (Pogus, 2012)
features (mostly droning) pieces composed by Margolis for the Dutch string trio Scordatura,
experts in microtonal music.
There is no narrative in Gilmore's Girls, just a gentle chaos of tones
surrounding the languid emotion-less humming of the girls as if staring at a
picture of the girls in hallucinating sunshine. The diversity of sonic events
in this piece (one of Margulis' most sophisticated compositions)
contrasts with the monolithic drone-based architecture of
E And Sometimes Why, to which a multitude of instruments and voice
contribute layering on top of each other. In a sense, the chaos spreads
vertically instead of horizontally.
All For Al(frun) superimposes only drones of voices and in a simpler
manner that evokes a slow-motion analysis of a religious choir.
Another vocal droning monolith, Ringing (Ano)the(r) Bell, is the most
clear hint at a slowly forming and morphing melody.
The 20-minute The Tempest Fuggit deconstructs Shakespeare's text
both treating the voice electronically and wrapping it in a haunting
electroacoustic soundscape of extremely long drones and sudden bursts of
More intense pathos is actually generated in the whirling buzzing of
Cicada 4AA, a piece that conflates
random instrumental notes and manically mauled voices into an increasingly
By the time
we reach the 26-minute closer, Diapson Maybe,
the slow variations of its thin petulant timbre feel a bit redundant.
Red One (Pogus, 2013)
featured Al Margolis on toy trumpet, Nate Wooley
on trumpet, Ellen Band and
Lisa B Kelley on vocals, Monique Buzzart on trombone, Leslie Ross on
bassoon, and Veronika Vitazkova on flute.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami