Alarm clock, bird cage and wine glasses are the only instruments used in this recording, which gives hope to aspiring musicians everywhere. One doesn’t need a big budget in order to create memorable music ~ those who can’t afford a Fender or cello can learn to make do. Of course one still needs to have an ear for timbre and the talent to play, two elements that Finland’s Thuoom has been displaying for years on a series of net releases. Poised as his first physical foray, Resonant is indeed that. This brief release resonates with spirit and grace, and most of all, joy ~ the joy of taking ordinary objects and making them sing. While listening, one begins to consider the items in one’s own home in terms of their sonic possibilities instead of their intended purposes.
The most amazing thing about Resonant is that it doesn’t sound like what might expect, given its sources. The percussive “caged”, for example, sounds more like live drums than processed cages, while “glasses” sounds like xylophones in duet. The ear is fooled because it expects to hear these sounds rather than the instruments used. But musicians tend to hear everything as musical – cars, creaks, cutlery. Thuoom’s EP occupies the vast area between the earliest, most primitive music (rocks, sticks, stretched animal hide) and the latest, most advanced (computerized algorithms), splitting the difference in a way that seems both familiar and foreign.
Give the artist credit for resisting the impulse to process everything beyond recognition. While the opening piece, “yarn”, hides its sources well, the other tracks open them up for perusal. “glasses” in particular allows the sound of struck glass to resonate, dancing among keen electronic notes. (This does, however, lead to a technical question: did the artist tap the glasses with the alarm clock or the bird cage? If not, a spoon or drum stick is the fourth instrument.)
The logical next step would be a long-form work containing an even wider variety of implements. A collaboration with Pawn would also seem a possibility. Those who enjoy this release are urged to peruse the Textural Healing site to hear other wonders from Thuoom, ranging from ambient to drone to experimental guitar. Dice, chopsticks, shelves, cameras, metal jars and copper paper also make guest appearances. Cage would be proud. (Richard Allen)