Much electronic music seems to fall into three distinct categories: 1) droning angst, dredged from the primordial soup, given a beat to get tribal to; 2) wash upon wave upon wash of textured android spirituality; 3) hugely unlistenable, period. But Michael William Gilbert's Radio Omnibus has a humor to it, and where humor is, lies a heart behind it.
Gilbert, a retired Advisor for Technological Initiatives and Services for the University of Massachusetts, doesn't engage in electronica with a sterile, mathematical view. Instead he composes with a musician's sense of wonder and creativity. So "Onomatopia" opens Radio Omnibus with a bounce, flourish, and a ring-tone modulator that weaves in and out of the entire disc like a chattering Greek chorus. Keyboardist Adam Holzman joins Gilbert on this and other tracks.
Influenced by the music of Stockhausen, Varese, and the musics of Africa, India, and Japan, Gilbert's music holds an inherent sense of movement, an integral element of music and thought that most electronic composers either choose to deny or avoid. Though the chamber piece "Night Walk" may sound a tad too chamber, Gilbert does insist that the Sofia Session Orchestra and Four for Music (flute, bassoon, vibraphone and strings) cavort around each other. "Of Time and the River," "The Widening Sky" and "Cloud Limbo Land"again with Holzman and drummer Mark Walker (his thundering performance on "The Widening Sky" is a standout)embrace the jazz nuance instinctively. Sections stretch, collide, influence, and meld into and out of each other. Radio Omnibus is one of those rare electronic discs that doesn't sound like the music of robots for robots.
Onomatopia; Night Walk; TimeSpace; Ice Spring Breath; Canon of Flowers; Of Time and the
River; The Widening Sky;
Rainbow; Three Doors; Cloud Limbo Land.
Michael William Gilbert: modular synthesizer, samplers, loops, electronics, percussion;
Adam Holzman: keyboards, electric piano, acoustic piano;
Mark Walker: drums;
Four for Music and the Sofia Session Orchestra;
Supreme Tracks: drums, violin, cello, fretless bass, flute, oboe;
Uncredited: guitar, mandolin, dobro.
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