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Music
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Jerry Leake

Cubist

(Rhombus Publishing; US: 17 Nov 2009)

In his notes, Jerry Leake suggests that he would like to treat music as the Cubists treated painting: “simultaneously opening the object”—in this case “sound and time”—“in all its sides in relation to the observer.” To this end he will use “Combinations of natural elements (wood, metal, skin); music tradition (African, Indian, Middle Eastern); metric structures and unusual subdivisions.” A percussion man, he organises Cubist around percussion. Xylophones and drums react against one another while a saxophone or an electric guitar calms the melee. In “Chrysalis” the tabla tries to dance forward against a phalanx of competitors pushing in the opposite direction. “Nu Atasia” incorporates a spectrum of percussion from the gloom-gloom of a long, low, hollow wooden xylophone to a bright little bell that goes ting. There’s none of the painter-Cubists’ startling jaggedness here: the music is a soundscape that moves at the speed of a walk. The listener is asked to contemplate its effects, not feel their expectations tweaked by its daring. A tune does not have the immediacy of a seen object: the deconstruction must be tackled in increments, which means it can seem repetitive, raking over similar ground with minor changes to “[open] the object.” Cubist occupies a middle ground, not very interested in highs or lows, but fascinated by the spectacle of noises meeting other noises—a kaleidoscope in neutral colours.

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