This is, presumably, the future of 'classical'
music as the postmodernist illuminati see it: a multi-layered
wall of computer-generated sound literally and symbolically
drowning out the Old Ways, as represented by Benjamin Bowman's
violin and Douglas Stewart's flute. Innova describe this
disc as "electro-acoustic, ethno-death-metal, versus environmental,
classical-fusion-electronica in a UFC cage [not John-] match":
it is not for those who have not wholeheartedly embraced the
cultural homogenisation of the "iPod generation".
The first track, all 35 relentless minutes of it, is The Discofication
of the Mongols, which, so it says, "concerns the loss of
all indigenous culture to the monolith of western pop music"
- how ironic that MC Maguire's creation comes across
as a glorification of that undeniable truth. Benjamin Bowman
surely could not have been listening to the computer content
during recording, otherwise the mind-altering qualities of the
überpop soundtrack would have induced violin rage. For a brief
moment, after 17 minutes, the Death by Disco treatment inflicted
on the listener seems to have ended, only to lurch back into
gaudy life again - that was only the halfway mark!
Any mercy accruing from the fact that the second track is shorter
by ten minutes is negated by the repetitious splicing - 'mashing'
is the word of the moment, though 'garrotting'
would also do - of three Gershwin tunes that Maguire's
parents apparently played over and over when he was a child.
S'Wonderful (That the Man I Love Watches over Me) was
written in his mother's memory, but it is hard to believe
that she or Gershwin would have particularly appreciated what
he has done to them here: more chopping-changing sampling, manic
electronic beats, a post-structuralist's spot-the-reference
heaven, and a flute struggling to be heard.
From a technical point of view, the scale of the soundworlds
is undeniably impressive - up to 300 tracks, according to Innova,
and a decibel level to match at times. Sound quality is excellent.
The booklet gives
no information at all about MC Maguire - Innova's website
describes him (or maybe her) as a "Toronto based electro-acoustic
manipulator who has worked in every medium and genre as a composer/producer/engineer"
- but there is plenty of pretentious stuff - and nonsense -
about the two tracks.
Musically this is, despite the interesting soloist lines heroically
performed by Bowman and Stewart, less interesting than listening
from a bedroom window to an ice cream van going round the neighbourhood.
Those who are fascinated by this kind of 21st century mumbo-jumbo
will find all manner of references - 'intertextualities'
- and semiotic rummage. MC Maguire will likely attract the same
kind of cult following, just as unwarranted, as Frank Zappa.
This is a CD only for the 'down' and trendy, then:
before purchase, proof of smartphone ownership and popular Facebook
account must be provided as a bare minimum.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
also see the review by Dominy