William Hooker

William Hooker

William Hooker

Complexity #2

KOS Recordings

In the center of the sparse liner notes to William Hooker’s Complexity #2, there is a poem, half of which appears below:

Last day

Staring at you in a body suit

Fortuna

Pound-Me

And I heed the call

Ever

As wood and night calls

Digging and wood

Syrup — Dish…..

The last day – will do it all

The rightness of it

Bliss-glow

B……… Righted/and glow

Triumph — will be the greed

Holding familiar faces

Tonight – a call verify my chain

A fine line exists between this barely coherent assemblage of words and abject nonsense, and that might explain why in these ambiguous and ignorant times so many charlatans are able to pass off their dreck as art. Hooker, I think, has given careful consideration to his goal and his means of realizing it, though it’s a real challenge for anyone to make a case for this using this album as an example.

Complexity #2 was recorded live at The Knitting Factory in September 2000 (or so says the CD; the press kit says 2003). There are only three tracks, the first and dominant one being the forty-one-minute “Twelve Windows.” For several minutes we hear the sounds of the seashore gradually co-mingling with the muffled — and by muffled, I mean that it sounds as though the performance was recorded via two tins cans connected via string — sounds of Hooker’s intermittent percussion. Later come the staticky bleeps and bloops of keyboardist Doug Walker and DJ Olive, sounds that are barely distinguishable from tuning in an antique radio. What this is aiming for is anyone’s guess, particularly when a similar effect could be had from putting Relaxing Sounds of the Sea on one stereo and flipping through the FM frequencies on another. The so-called complexity seems like anything but.

“Emergence” and “Roerich’s Word,” neither of which comes even close to the running time of “Twelve Windows,” complete the album in largely the same obscure fashion, though “Emergence” does have the distinction of being a bit more obnoxious and grating than its counterparts, and “Roerich’s Word” features an appearance by electric violinist Eyvind Kang. Avant jazz, the “file under” category for this disc, is infamous for its head-scratching esoteric thrills, but the audience for Complexity #2 will be more narrow than usual.

KOS Recordings: home.earthlink.net/~wateriswet

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