Music Reviews

Artist: Michael Vernusky (@)
Title: Blood That Sees the Light
Format: CD
Label: Alas Seis Music (@)
Rated: *****

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Let's face it, it's extremely hard these days to make palatable "experimental" music in any genre, or even develop a unique style. Under the aegis of award-winning composer and full-time music instructor Michael Vernusky, however, there just may emerge a perfect variant in the realm of "serious" music. This young and accomplished classical/noise-collage artist has turned in an ambitious and impressive array of drone-and-klang-accompanied chamber pieces -- a side of rusty razor wire with your filet mignon, if you will.

In fact, let's imagine that this is one such dinner party, at which the first thing everyone hears is the title track, a swelling barrage of ambient menace, bringing to mind (for those of us with Industrial leanings) Reptilicus and maybe some of Laibach's Macbeth. But then track two, "Tanah," surprises us with a hissing alien demon who leads the way through a futuristic chamber piece for "flutes and electronic sound." "Arc," an intensely moody, brooding piano solo, has intricate and interesting modern phrasings in six movements, which means we've made it to the main course without too much wine and hors d'oeuvres. For the next course, "Means and Meditations," we've now left the chamber and stumbled out into the aliens' subway system, with snapping, spitting third rails and groaning vehicles howling electronically by -- and then on our way back in, we stop only to listen to a solo classical guitarist playing a somber prayer ("Selah") amid the sound of the otherworldly metropolis thrumming in the background.

Now we've come to dessert, the live orchestral "Drawn Inward." There unfortunately is some dissonance in the performance of this last track, but kudos must be given to Vernusky for not copping out and doing it all on synth. In any case, by that time you and your dinner guests should all be in a catatonic stupor of pleasurable, drunken angst. I'm putting in my RSVP for the maestro's next soirée, which should be sensational, if this foray is any indication.

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