What’s your idea of fun? Might it be to record 20 musicians who play everything from wind chimes to congas, rearrange their sounds, and send the whole thing over to Nick Zammuto (The Books) for mastering? That’s exactly what Brandon Locher (The Meets) and the My Idea of Fun label have done here. It Happens Outside refers to the fact that this amalgamation of music happens outside ordinary boundaries. The album sounds in turn like a DJ set, a mix tape, a jam session and a tuning orchestra. Is it a live album that sounds like a studio recording, or a studio recording that sounds live? The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Over the course of the last three years, Locher collected the raw material for this sound collage, wandering the streets with field recording equipment, recording the work of local musicians. Friends dropped by with instruments ~ brass, strings, percussion ~ and these were folded into the mix as well. At no time did the principal figures occupy the same space; as Locher puts it, The Meets is a “created ensemble” whose contributions were re-arranged to form a seamless work. The ear is pleasantly fooled as one imagines all 20 musicians sharing a stage together, hanging on the swoop of the conductor’s baton.
The dozen tracks unfold as a single piece, the only silence arriving between sides. Despite this break, the sonic thread of Side A continues on Side B. The tracks are shorter than those on Even When the Time Comes (2012), but richer in texture and quicker in sonic turnover. Finger cymbals echo, street musicians yelp, an organist wonders why he’s not in church. A DJ scratches over bongos and bells. Violin and shruti box perform an elaborate duet. Someone has left the television on ~ wait, now they’ve noticed it. Arranged with mandala-like precision, It Happens Outside celebrates the sounds that musicians make outdoors, even if these sounds were brought indoors in order to amplify their impact. Is it fun? Absolutely ~ this is a worthy addition to any groove collection. (Richard Allen)
Release date: October 1