For sure Thollem McDonas cannot be accused of remaining stuck in the same place for extended temporal fractions. This time, the man plunged straight into the perilous waters of nonfigurative electronica of vintage descent. OK, now you have checked the list of instruments and told yourself “right, the usual analogue sonorities applied to piano improvisation”. No Sir. There are neither guidelines nor constraints burdening the malleable matter produced by Thollem’s blizzards. The stuff is as variegated as hazardous: uncontrollable spikes, awkward figurations, ominous looping, violent pseudo-serialism (bathed in über-distortion, for good measure) and harmonically ameliorated noise escort the listener across a trip that – as frequently happening in Stimulating Music County – causes physical enhancement rather than nerve-related discomfort (notwithstanding the reference to nuclear testing). The absence of commonly intended “lyrical traits” is likely to alienate the less adventurous audiences who, after a hard day’s work, would wish anything but getting subjected to such an irregular rubbing of the auricular membranes. But for the fortunate ones who were born able to unlock their mind from prejudice, the multifarious dynamics and kaleidoscopic gradations herein will definitively alter the concept of “recreational listening”. Futurist stalwart Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – he of the “Zang Tumb Tumb” description – would have a ball with this record, perhaps changing his famous line into something like “wheeow-wah-wah-hummmmmmm-twinkle-rah-rah-rah-zzzzinnggggggg”. Me, I even tried using Operation Sunbeam as a soundtrack for personal training: I wasn’t feeling the weights anymore at one point. Draw your own conclusions.
- MASSIMO RICCI
Original Review: https://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/thollem-electric-operation-sunbeam/
Album Page: https://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/operation-sunbeam