Winded: Works for Organ and Tape by, of, and for Kenneth Gaburo (1926-1993)
Innova/American Composer’s Forum
This release features organist Gary Verkade performing a composition by the late Kenneth Gaburo, as well as some compositions in tribute to Gaburo by Warren Burt and Philip Blackburn. Because of the difficult nature of these compositions, this collection will probably be of interest mostly to students of modern composition who can understand the theory and process behind these works and those people out there who can appreciate this type of music on a purely visceral level.
The first featured composition, “Recitative/Tracing (On Guns and Cock Fighting)” by Burt, combines sustained chord pulses on pipe organ with electronically altered samples of Gaburo’s voice. The resulting sounds resemble what one might imagine extraterrestrial communication to be like. The next piece, which was one of Gaburo’s later compositions, is more immediately interesting, especially to those who have an appreciation for musical violence. “Antiphony X (Winded)” is a duel between Verkade on pipe organ and eight acoustic speakers from which emanate previously recorded organ and found sounds. It starts out with sounds resembling loud and scary, industrial percussion that are soon joined by frantic, amelodic organ playing. It sounds like what might have happened if an avant-garde pipe organist had battled it out with the original conception of Einsterzende Neubauten. The sporadic organ and found sounds gradually build into an exhilarating overload. The piece lasts for over thirty minutes and ends with a disturbing, tinnitus-like buzz. Verkade then finishes with the extremely minimalist “P.P.S.” by Blackburn. It features an unaltered recording of Gaburo reading a letter in Italian accompanied by sustained organ chords and intermittent screams and moans in the background.
Needless to say, this is not at all the place to go for casual listening pleasure.
Innova Recordings c/o American Composers Forum, 332 Minnesota Street #E-145, St. Paul, MN 55101-1300, (651) 228-1407, http://www.composersforum.org