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Experimental in the broadest sense of the word, the music on Rodney Oakes' Music for MIDI Trombone ventures into new realms, both technological and artistic. Electronic treatment of the trombone is thus far something of an oddity in music. Oakes takes a broad approach to this challenge, using a pitch-dependent MIDI controller and introducing sparse independently-composed electronic accompaniment. He offers similar treatment to the alp horn, a 9-foot long Polish instrument which exists solely to play a solitary E note. (God forbid any extended improvisation on the untreated alp horn, save for lovers of that lonely E!)
Parts of Music for MIDI Trombone exude a swinging feel; others venture into Japanese music; and many parts could only be lumped in with modern classical (albeit avant-garde) composition. Oakes makes it clear in his liner notes that each piece has a specific personal meaningmost of which would certainly elude the casual listener. Generally sparse and atmospheric, the music on this record obeys a deliberate order and proceeds with due attention to structure. Oakes avoids all of the clichés of electronica: regular beats, dense ambient textures, and strict regimentation. Though a bit intellectual and mostly devoid of any kind of extroverted emotional energy, Music for MIDI Trombone nevertheless offers appeal for listeners curious about experimental approaches to electronic performance and composition.
Track Listing: Fantasy II for Buccina; Three Bellagio Meditations: Prelude, Ballad, Bellagio Blues; New Crakow (Nowy Krakow); Soliloquy; Erotic Rhapsody; Impromptu; Mazurka for Krysia; Variations on a Song of the Buraku Liberation Movement; Threnody for the Victims of My Lai.
Personnel: Rodney Oakes: MIDI trombone, electronics, and MIDI alp horn.