Jon Rose, the Derek Bailey of the violin, is turning his attention to the possibilities of electronic manipulation of stringed instrument sound. A collaborator with the likes of Eugene Chadbourne, Bob Ostertag, Luc Houtkamp, Otomo Yoshihide, and Wayne Horvitz, Rose is a creative musician with plenty of humor on display.
Strung is a co-conspiracy between Rose and Steve Heather, an electronic and percussive musician. The pair assembled various string players at Amsterdam’s The Hospital in July of 2000 to act/react in varying combinations of players, some live, others virtual (assume recorded prior to the session). What evolved is 24 pieces varying in length from less than a minute to the longest at three-and-a-half minutes. Picture Kronos Quartet meets Naked City without notation. Players bow, scrape, pluck, hit, and otherwise ‘excite’ their instruments in sometimes beautiful passages and others that get downright vile.
Players use homemade instruments like Steve Heater’s Whipolin defined as a “disemboweled cello with hurdy gurdy type wheels of serrated, spiked, and thonged varieties.” Together Rose and Heather stir the pot with bits of metal clash and booming percussive effects. With so many different sounds coming into play, this recording never drags. And if you are annoyed by some of the cacophony, another track is coming shortly. Sadly, the interesting tracks pass by all to quickly too.