Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review: Refusenik - Musikaliszer Pinkos (Slip Discs)

Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumšteinas, as Refusenik, inhabits the edge zone between installation art and experimental electronica. He is also a member of Quartet Twentytwentyone, Works & Days, Zarasai and Wolumen, and has spent over a decade in the european avant grade, culminating in last year's award of the Palma Ars Acoustica prize for radiophonic arts.

'Musikaliszer Pinkos' is his first recording for Slip Discs, and it collects a series of numbered pieces ('56th', '115th', et cetera) recorded on a flea market Polyvox synth. These pieces take in material from the Hebrew 'Musikaliszer Pinkos', a collection of religious hymns.

The expected tension between the folksy nature of the source material and what one might expect to be a 'futuristic' sound has been somewhat defused by 2014. The pieces are gorgeous though, and seem to inhabit a micro-history of new folk, which can be traced back to Mother Mallard and Yves Klein's Monotone Symphony: Brian Eno as Morris Man is maybe not such a strange proposition after all.

Words: Steve Hanson

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