Veteran electronic improviser and Robert Ashley's collaborator
Tom Hamilton recorded his major solo album only two decades after his
involvement with avantgarde music began:
London Fix (2004).
Hamilton and jazz guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil, who had already released 12 albums on
his own, joined forces to record (live in the studio) the duets of
Shadow Machine (Pogus, 2009) that seem to hark back to the early
electronic music of Karlheinz Stockhausen.
In Dusting Off Dada Hamilton's synthesizer shoots random squirts of noise at the fractured guitar tones.
In Dryer Mouth Eisenbeil's guitar emits chaotic noises that eventually
evoke harsh electronic responses.
A pretense of conventional harmony appears in Shadow Machine, but it's
like two drunkards trying to intone a singalong.
Dot Dot Dot is what the title implies: tinkling sounds that are so
abstract that it's hard to tell which instrument is making them.
In Walleye Spawn the synth emits what sound like tiny rodent noises
while the guitar tries to articulate a robotic speech, until the
electronics explodes and releases huge tidal drones.
More small animals surface in The Salt Eaters, fighting against each
other and against the nagging guitar.
The synth's animals seem to scream in the first half of Little Left on the Left, as if terrified.
Silver Through a Straw pits electronic crickets and crystal aliens
against an obnoxious amateur Hendrix.
These "linguistic" cases (driven more by Hamilton's choice of timbre than by
the narrative sequence of events) constitute the best moments on the album.
This recording represents Hamilton using the synthesizer as a highly creative
and wildly dissonant instrument.
Local Customs (Mutable, 2009) is
a work of collaborative electro-acoustic improvisation in which
Tom Hamilton's timid and subdued synthesizer dialogs with the live instruments
(flute, clarinet, trombone, bass, percussion), yielding the
majestic adagio of Corral, the disjointed jazz fanfare of
the solemn lullaby of All the Mapping Shifted.
Pieces For Kohn/ Formal and Informal Music (Kvist, 2010)
reissues early experiments produced during his years in St Louis.
The electroacoustic poem
Formal and Informal Music (Somnath, 1980) toys with
fibrillating electronic pattern that evoke a rapid-fire remix of
Terry Riley's Rainbow in Curved Air,
free-jazz wind instruments and exotic percussion.
The three-movement Crimson Sterling (Somnath, 1973) juxtaposes
free-jazz cacophony, dadaistic electronic sounds and a simple
fanfare of droning winds.
Pieces for Kohn (Somnath, 1975) consists of four electronic pieces
of the Morton Subotnick kind.
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