AMN Reviews: Pet the Tiger and Co. – Gaze Emanations [Public Eyesore PE145]

On Gaze Emanations, the sui generis ensemble Pet the Tiger and Co. respond to a series of eleven drawings by artists Brian Lucas with a set of twelve elaborately crafted, abstract soundscapes.

Pet the Tiger & Co. is an unusually configured octet comprising three players of invented instruments (Bryan Day, Cheryl Leonard, and Tom Nunn); two players of prepared and found percussion (Suki O’Kane and Gino Robair); saxophonist Philip Greenlief, trumpeter/electronics artist Tom Djll, and vocalist David Samas, who also produced the album. On paper it’s a potentially rich and varied mixture of timbres that in reality proves to be exactly that. Much about these performances is abstract in the way that acousmatic music is abstract—unusual sounds whose provenance is either obscure or obscured—which isn’t surprising, given the predominance of invented instruments or modified acoustic instruments. The textures of these performances are akin to mosaics made of multicolored, loosely joined tiles—even though the group is large, the sound rarely gets cluttered or overly dense. Samas’ voice is in keeping with the overall acousmatic feeling, consisting as it does of overtone singing, pre-verbal utterances and speech in some indecipherable language. On Ally the acoustic voices of Greenlief’s saxophone and Djll’s trumpet come to the foreground in a way that slyly acknowledges the conventionally musical and, given the context of the other performances, comes as a peculiar kind of shock.

Lucas’ drawings, which the group interpreted as graphic scores, are included in the CD’s booklet. They are colorful geometric and stylized works that seem to allude to astronomical, mythological, and metaphysical subjects—arcane provocations that Pet the Tiger and Co. aptly bring to sonic life.

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