Saturday, 9 April 2016

Tom Knapp - Mophoc Rez

Mainlining this in the ' demands it - you know, just the other day I was listening to Bernard Parmegiani on the hi-fidelity CD contraption across the room and it struck me, not for the first time, that it wasn't until sound got portable that we could easily appreciate the effort put into some music, which begs the question why I bothered wearing huge headphones in the 70s to hear Alan Freeman play Blue Oyster Cult on his Saturday afternoon show - BOC hardly being enhanced by close listening - then again - I remember now, we only had one music unit in the house (note, unit, now, since we'd gone upmarket having ditched the portable mono through which I actually did start discovering music such as Bowie etc), which was in the living room and Dad always watched the horse racing on a Saturday afternoon... I was listening to Parmegiani but it felt distant, you know? Too much space between me and the sound, the air that carried on it subtle sounds from outside (wind, rain, workman's tools, servants bickering about how much I pay them etc) - not only that but have you noticed how the air, even in an otherwise silent room, disturbs sound? It just wasn't right. So I vowed to get the BP box transferred onto a medium that would allow me to plug 'em in and then really hear it...

Tom Knapp's Mophoc Rez is music to meditate with, rather, meditate on, perhaps, for despite the presence of sometimes course textures and occasional disruptive modulations there's an underlying...calm? Assurance, his, gives that impression. Knowing what to do, rather than winging it...and yet, somehow, improvisatory, as if throwing the mechanical dice sometimes, seeing where it lands, what happens, how it can be incorporated into the whole. I don't know how he works. Where do these sounds come from? Meaning, are they composed? Surely not. A feel...the way modern electronic music-makers work...through the sounds, layers, textures and tones...what might happen, what could happen if this is introduced and tweaked?

Around the globe folks are pre-setting sound and just tinkering, sprinkling sugar (not even sugar, sugar substitute) on top for the delectation of pop music-lovers and fans of other electronic music alike. But I praise Tom Knapp for continuing the tradition of the avant-garde as exemplified by the likes of Parmegiani. I'm listening to Mophoc Rez again on a Saturday afternoon, coincidentally, but Alan Freeman is dead.


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