Listen To This
Muse Eek Publishing Inc. Presents: Sonic Twist’s® CD Release “Listen To This.” Adventurous Electronic Excursions by Judi Silvano and Bruce Arnold
Judi Silvano–Voice with Live Processing
Bruce Arnold–Guitar and SuperCollider
“The definitive breakdown of musical categorization was delivered in 1962 by Duke Ellington: “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind.” File this album in the Good Music section.”
–Steve Holtje, Manager, ESP-Disk
“Brilliant. Love it; almost a Kraftwerk twist to it.”
–Rob Taylor nmblive.com, 2017
Featuring Judi Silvano on vocals & effects and Bruce Arnold on guitar & devices. There last time I reviewed a disc by Judi Silvano, was when she did a superb duo CD with the late Mal Waldron, somewhere around 2002, a long time ago. I’ve kept my eye and ear on guitarist Bruce Arnold since he collaborates with an odd selection of characters: Omar Tamez, Thomas Buckner, Roberta Piket and Ursel Schlict. So, I didn’t know what to expect when this disc appeared in our mail. It turns out this these two have created their own world, altered guitar and vocal/ sounds. I really like the opening song, a otherworldly blues with Judi’s hip-notic vocals harmonized with subtle alien effects. A sort of fairy-tale like vibe, rather like a distant relative to J.A.’s “White Rabbit’. Ms. Silvano sounds a bit like Iva Bittova on the aptly titled “Space Lullaby”, charming and child-like at times. Mr. Arnold seems to be using some spacey devices which sound more like electric bowed strings or even birdcalls. Ms. Silvano sounds like a sorceress on “My Neighborhood”, making quietly disturbing observations about her neighborhood. Silvano’s voice/singing are coming more from the Joan LaBarbara/Cathy Berberian school of experimental vocals. Effects and devices are used selectively here, never too weird or alien. Mr. Arnold does a great job of providing sumptuous sonic soundscapes without playing any predictable single note jazz solos. Mr. Arnold’s guitar sounds like an army of chanting monks as he plays those dark floating chords in the background. There definitely some strange moments where the odd alien vocals and spaced out guitar sounds seem to come from somewhere else far away. Whatever you do, you got to check out this one, “Great Plains”, there is something special going on here, completely enchanting with that great sly groove. This is followed by “Journey to Be Free”, another stunner, with a rocking’ groove but no rhythm team, just the guitar and voice. I certainly didn’t expect this disc to be the most surprising, odd gem of the month but that is what it is. Check out this duo at DMG next month.
Sonic Twist’s® Debut Recording “Listen To This”
The intuitive understanding between musicians is called “chemistry” and Listen To This, with Judi Silvano and Bruce Arnold has chemistry in abundance. The duets on this recording, some improvised, some composed, show a duo who are intensely tuned into every nuance as they follow the sonic twists and turns of these 12 striking songs. This is some deep listening.
When the two artists decided to see where a duet situation would lead them, both were surprised at the ease with which they created engrossing, evocative music. “I couldn’t believe how comfortable Judi was with pedals and effects she had never used before.” says Arnold. “And what she did with them was so cool, it was great to improvise with; it felt very free to create along with her.” As for Silvano, she says “Bruce has exactly what I look for in a musician- he is literate, sensitive, and incredibly open in his approach.”
Listen To This opens with “Remembrances” a bluesy rumination that is made sinister by the use of a half step combined with a major 3rd. A free improv that become a story of life’s complexity.
- Space Lullaby: The welcoming release of majestic arpeggiated guitar chords ring out like church bells to Judi’s soaring melodies.
- My Neighborhood: Judi wrote this song as an homage to life’s beauties, but it acquired some ironically dark overtones with the addition of processing. Judi and Bruce do some impressive back and forth in the “break.”
Cats Are Watching
- Cats Are Watching: This track provides some whimsy —ever wondered what the brain patterns of a cat might sound like?
- Complete Embrace: A hallucinatory art song incorporating poetic fragments into one of Judi’s compositions. There’s no vocal processing, allowing Judi’s rich voice to ring clear.
- Sioux Falls: Bruce’s ode to the running waters of the Sioux Falls.
- Travel Chant: Judi sings a brief melody as she walks through a crystalline landscape.
In The Deep
- In The Deep: an extremely ambient interlude with denizens of the watery abyss —complete with sonar.
Listen To This
- Listen To This: the most abstract of the composed tracks, with various repeating motifs.
- Great Plains: recalls the huge vistas of the west, and Judi waxes both lyrical and stratospheric.
Journey to be Free
- Journey to be Free: From obscurity to clarity, literally.
- Listen Again: A free improv interpretation of Judi’s composition “Listen To This” with an abundance of live sound processing.
Sonic Twists® Video also has videos of many of the compositions.