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17 November 1997
By George Zahora in Splendid E-Zine (USA), November 17, 1997

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“Suffice to say it’s amazing.”

Yes, this disc is full of music inspired by Mary Shelley’s famed novel — but not in the typical manner. Rather, the four pieces here have been assembled, à la Frankenstein’s creature, from bits and pieces of other, in this case musical, entities. To extend the metaphor somewhat, these newborn creations have a thoroughly different set of perceptions than music birthed by more conventional means. The works of 22 composers have been visited, sampled and juxtaposed here. The results are varied. Allegro the opener, is full of wet, mechanical noises interspersed with haunting, sustained harmonic tones; it later dips into a deep, dark cellar of doom, emerges into the evening air and drifts warily across the sonic landscape, interacting with the beings it finds there. Andante combines drumming, gamelan bells and other environmental sounds into a palpable island of intermittent mechanical serenity. Scherzo combines instruments, spoken words, city sounds and animal noises into a nightmare ballet of distended perceptions and misbegotten beings, dying slowly amidst birds and frogs. And the Finale is even more nerve-wracking, full of brilliant stereo imaging and sonic confrontations that defy description. I can no more do justice to these works within a few sentences than I can claim to truly appreciate the juxtaposition of artists, works and compositional statements. Longtime Splendid readers will notice some familiar names — Stéphane Roy, Robert Normandeau — among the source material, which is a nice bonus. But really, writing about this disc is like combining the pieces from a dozen jigsaw puzzles and trying to describe what you assemble. Suffice to say it’s amazing.

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