Bruce Arnold—Electric Guitar and SuperCollider
“Disklaimer” finds guitarist Bruce Arnold practicing alchemy with master electronic improviser and synth keyboardist Tom Hamilton. The two have been friends in music together for ten years, and the interaction displayed in this CD of soundscapes highlights that familiarity.
Tom Hamilton is no stranger to anyone interested in the American New Music scene; his contributions as a player, composer, sound engineer, installation artist and curator have extended his reputation as a pioneer, one with an exacting ear and an open mind. Rather than addressing traditional modes of expression, presentation and observation, Hamilton’s music often explores the interaction of many simultaneous layers of activity, prompting the use of “present-time listening” on the part of both performer and listener.
Bruce Arnold is best known for his applications of 12 tone constructs to modern Jazz composition and improvisation. His most recent forays however, have been in the use of SuperCollider, an object oriented computer program that allows remarkable flexibility with processed sounds on the guitar. This expanded textural spectrum coupled with Arnold’s fascination with tonalities and structure makes for an excellent synergy with Hamilton.
On “Disklaimer” these affinities are sometimes so in synch that the listener will be challenged to separate one musician’s contribution from the other. (Hamilton plays Nord and Kurzweil keyboards, while Arnold’s guitar is processed through SuperCollider.) Sounds, movements, rhythms and ideas interact spontaneously yet structurally, lending each track the feeling of a composition. Arnold states that he used the tonal centers of Hamilton’s seemingly atonal playing to create an harmonic and melodic palette thus giving the improvisations a feeling of tonal form. Throughout, the communication between Hamilton and Arnold results in tracks that are both thought provoking and ear pleasing.
To hear or purchase music from this CD please visit the Disklaimer page at the record company Muse Eek Recordings.
“Composer/guitarist Bruce Arnold’s adventurous comprovisations, which straddle the line between jazz and so-called contemporary classical music, have led him down the path of uptown serialism in the past, e.g. a series of 12-tone heads on the appropriately titled trio CD A Few Dozen and even covers of Webern with the group Spooky Actions, although neither are your parents’ Darmstadt. On a new duo disc, his talents are paired with more downtown leaning Tom Hamilton, who for years has been responsible for the live sound processing of Robert Ashley’s music and whose own fascinating electronic compositions include a musical re-interpretation of a trading day at the London Stock Exchange. The results of this exciting collaboration, which pairs Hamilton’s synthesizer wizardry with Arnold on guitar and SuperCollider (a computer program for real time audio synthesis), yield music ranging from classic Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center soundscapes to grooves that share a remarkable kinship with the more spacey European prog-rock of the mid- to late 1970s–think Heldon or the trippier moments of Tangerine Dream. I know that Holger Czukay studied with Stockhausen, but I’ve always wished that Mario Davidovsky, Bulent Arel, and company would have hung out with Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and John Cale–at one point they all were living on the same island after all–but it was up to the fertile creative minds of a subsequent generation to make the connection.”
—FJO, NEW MUSIC BOX