RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ TJ Norris: "triMIX"

img  Tobias

There are many different concepts of classifying music and they all have their merrits. But none has proved to be as incisive as the one between music for the masses and individual music. Maybe the antagonism between so-called “commercial” productions and “experimental”, “independent” or “small-scale” records is the last remaining dividing line, after concepts like “serious” and “popular” have all but lost their (original) meaning. To me, it has also seemed a good place to start the “revolution of the small”. After all, even if you add together all the big names from the world of pop and rock, their total market value wouldn’t even come close to the myriads of artists spread out over the globe, sitting behind laptops, steel guitars, djembes, self-built analog synthesizers or cheap keyboards. Music for the masses means uniformity and conformity, individual music means colourfulness, diversity and plentitude. If we want the latter to be awarded the media space it deserves, then we need more projects like “triMIX”.

The Concept: Contemporary City Landscapes

Of course, this thought has had next to nothing to do with the original concept behind this release. Over the last fifteen years, TJ Norris has been active as a multimedia artist with a special focus on photography. Music has always held a special place in his exhibitions, which have sought to combine the visual with the audible in stimulating ways. For his “Trybrid” series, he allowed sound to become even more influential. Driven by the question how population movements, nature and other forces change the contemporary city landscape, he roamed the outskirts of town, a camera in one hand and an ipod in the other, carrying hours of music by some of the leading experimental musicians. Norris’ fingers were triggered by the sight of his eyes, who in turn were led by what the ears fed to his brain – a symbiotic relationship between unrelated persons and disciplines began, which, just like the objects he was shooting, can be regarded as “cerebral or subliminal”.

A DVD and a Mix-CD: An invincible combination

On “triMIX”, one finds a DVD with four videos and a CD with a running time of almost 70 minutes. Both would be interesting enough to warrant a purchase on their own – together they make for an invincible combination. The music side especially defies comparison. Each track is a meeting of two artistic visions, which the term “remix” can only describe in an extremely imprecise manner. On “Asmusmenge 1”, experimental jack-of-all-trades Frans de Waard’s opaque drones meet the scant particle manipulations of Asmus Tietchens, Xela and Rapoon’s “Gal-Fel” is a dreamy post-rock ballad conjuring up images of barren landscapes and silent ponds at night and Troum mix together all of the individual soundtracks into eight minutes of damped darkness. From rock to the ethereal, from the majestic to the minimal and spartan, it’s all here in a show which would have had John Peel sigh in envy and admiration. Meanwhile, the DVD brings together video cinematographers and some of the musicians from the CD in a synaptic party. Far from being “new” or “trendy”, these are simply four concisely realised movies without concrete stories (or is there one in “Symbiont” by Miles Chalcraft and Matthew Adkins, which has the lense zooming through Berlin and various dillusional state of minds?). Scanner’s “Continuum” especially gains strength. Ryan Jeffery has built a world from plastic foil, transparent and translucent plains as well as delicately floating drops of water, imitating oprganic life and inscening microscopic tectonic shifts in an otherworldly version of autumn.

Chances are high that you will like some tracks of the compilation better than others. This rule of thumb applies to most regular albums as well, though. TJ Norris has taken the risk of combining the incombinable and ended up with a mix which does not seek to smoothen out the rough edges, but leaves them intact. This not only goes against all marketing concepts, but against the techniques of techno culture as well, which has become pervasive in many basically unrelated branches of electronic music. What he has ended up with is a sampler which draws our attention to the interrelatedness between music, architecture and video and prickles the senses with a continuing stream of everchanging stimuli. This is not about loosing yourself completely in one single mood, but about enjoying the pleasure of a real surprise. What’s more, it shows the world of “experimental” music as one of thousands of approaches, personalities, possibilities and sounds. After all, individual music is not an anti-movement to mass culture but, in its entirety, the true voice of humanity.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: TJ Norris
Homepage: Innova Recordings

Related articles

CD Feature/ Henry Brant & Charles Ives: "A Concord Symphony"
Reconsiles Beethoven's Schicksals-theme: A fair ...
CD Feature/ Giancarlo Vulcano: "vetro"
Self-forgotten and detached from everything ...
CD Feature/ GVSU New Music Ensemble: "Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians"
Colour, melody, harmony, groove and ...
CD Feature/ Tom Heasley & Toss Panos: "Passages"
Moody, erotic and astral: Drums ...
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Fallen Sparrow"
A variety of musical meanings: ...
CD Feature/ Mary Ellen Childs: "Dream House"
A personal study: Childs rises ...
CD Feature: ko/ma: "Nur ein Traum"
Pieces transform gradually: A pop ...
CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning & Nadja: "st"
Breathtaking border-frictions: Shamanic searches for ...
CD Feature/ John Morton: "Solo Traveler"
Chains of charming chimes: Morton ...
Vital Weekly 577
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "EAM"
Symphonic music of the next ...
CD Feature/ Frank Rowenta: "Raumstudien # 01"
Recording Rooms: Experimental music of ...
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Beyond"
No direct answers: You have ...
CD Feature/ Jeffrey Roden: "Seeds of Happiness"
Roden has refused to succumb ...
CD Feature/ Josh Russell: "For LP"
Lifts sounds from their raw ...
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Lost Atlantis"
Slightly opaque visions between major ...
CD Feature/ Gernot Wolfgang: "Common Ground"
Just like hearing “Le Sacre ...
CD Feature/ Northaunt: "Horizons"
Extends the reach of Dark ...
CD Feature/ Tom Heasley: "On the Sensations of Tone"
Incredibly and inexplicably, each moment ...

Partner sites