Music Reviews



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Artist: JOHN HUDAK
Title: On and On
Format: CD
Label: Presto!?
Rated: *****
"To create «On And On», I recorded myself strumming a guitar for a long time. I converted the strumming audio to midi information (a collection of numbers that hold the basic pitch information along with duration and volume). The computer had to simplify the strumming, and in this simplification, left me with a melody ... a succession of number information that I used to trigger the pitches of an instrument much like a dulcimer". Call me lazy but sometimes quoting the artist himself is the best way to introduce a very peculiar work. "On and On" is a mammoth single-track, 70'28" by an artist who's surely not easy to pigeonhole, having worked with anything from pond microsounds to human voices to "traditional" instruments as in this case. But "On and On" is surely not a traditional guitar-based album. The simple strumming is layered and repeated in a sort of cascade continuum, with a minimalism that could even get on your nerves. You sense there are notes, yet the repetitive structure is that of a though minimalist opus (Charlemagne Palestine's strumming came to mind, though it's surely not the closest comparison). And yes, somebody has already underlined that, there's a sort of zen serenity and detachment that seems to spring from these notes. Now, I feel this acts a sort of Rorschach test: can you stand 70 minutes of (true, non plastic, non wallpaper) beauty and detachment? I can surely stand ugliness, and gravel-like sounds, but I've found this an uneasy listening. This eventually revealed a harder experience than I expected, and not because of boredom.