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Furt: Omnium

Nic Jones By

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Some times the real issues are the ends, and the means they're reached with, as much as anything else. Richard Barrett and Paul Obermeyer, together known as Furt, employ nothing in the way of conventional instrumentation to realise these soundscapes, which are as much about discontinuity as its opposite, and the resulting music can only be dealt with on its own terms. This in itself involves the suspension of many of the usual criteria by which music can be measured.

This music thus dwells in a realm of pure abstraction, and the differences between two pieces like "Ever" and "Us" are as much as anything matters of degree, despite the fact that some shards of Evan Parker's saxophone work turn up on the latter. Even these are subjected to some manipulation, perhaps with the aim in mind of denuding them of overt human input. The human element on "Yet" comes down to the nature of the music's live processing, but then that's true of the whole programme.

If the notion of such purity of abstraction is a daunting one, it has to be said that in this respect some deeper evidence of human presence would have been welcome in this music. Richard Teitelbaum's work with Anthony Braxton is apposite here, not least because the tension between the human and the mechanical or technological always seemed to be a key factor in that work. As it is, the very high demands this music makes could be too high for a lot of listeners. No matter. As long as human beings maintain an exploratory bent, music like this will be out there.


Track Listing: Ever; Obliged; Yet; Us.

Personnel: Richard Barrett: live electronics; Paul Obermayer: live electronics.

Title: Omnium | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Psi


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