Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Brian Joseph Davis – The Definitive Host

Serving as either a summation of or introduction to the collected sound projects (2004-2007) of Canadian artist Brian Joseph Davis, The Definitive Host is an inarguably wonderful looking package. There are unavoidable comparisons to be made with fellow maverick John Oswald, and especially his Plunderphonics works. Underlying considerations of copyright and censorship are manifest on pieces like “Ten Banned Albums Burned, Then Played,” sounding as title describes, and “Eula,” which features the Sony/BMG user license agreement orchestrated for and sung by a choir. “Ten Banned Albums…” features everything from Mahler and Stravinsky to Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist in a suite of stylus-jarring loops. New to this collection is “Five Box Sets Played on Fast Forward, Then Edited Into Songs” that, as advertised, takes on Motown through Metal, repurposing themes from a machine-driven randomness. And perhaps this is where Davis and Oswald part company: while Oswald performed exacting surgeries with razor and magnetic tape, Davis seems to embrace the chaos of creation that occurs when the technology runs itself. He also lets human error direct things as on “Yesterduh,” featuring layered performances of “Yesterday” by paying users of a gallery’s recording booth, encouraged to sing the song from approximate memory. The edited results are embarrassingly lovely. The disc is held in a chapbook-sized glossy package with photos of the burned albums, the score to “Eula” and several other tidbits to pore over while you listen.

Blocks Recording Company

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