If you're one of the few human beings possessing the stamina and breadth of acceptance for the sort of wild experimentalism that constituted Frank Zappa's farther shores (Jazz from Hell & etc.), then Berger Rond is most definitely your cup of mescal. Let that sentence stand as fair warning that this is extreme music that will test the borders of your medulla oblongata without mercy while advancing aesthetic appetites appreciably. My advice is not to try to make sense of any of Berger Rond's work but first to just sit back, empty out the thought process, and go along for the roller coaster ride. After that, many things will become apparent.
Monsieur Rond is a heavy-duty neoclassicalist who crafts serial head rush opera and insane cardiac arrest orchestral opuses. Conflating Elliott Carter with George Crumb, Sun Ra, Charles Dodge, a madhouse warping of Reich, Glass, and Adams and then the churning alien canvases of Ernst, Dali, and Tanguy, what at first seems to be highly episodic repetitive serialism is actually a good deal more than that, chaotically sophisticated in unending reversals, variations, and fragmenting floes. Sometimes the storm of madly flitting notes settles into a relative calm of Byzantine swamps, as in Temple Grandin's Cuddle Machine, but even that eventually forms tractor beam vortexes and, before you know it, your feet are knocked out from under you once again.
Much of Berger Rond's music ceaselessly plugs in and out and thus you'll get no end of envelope mangling, register fluctuations, violent shifts, and so on, all designed to unsettle and disorient—or, more properly, orient newly and in skewed perspectives. The gent is acquainted with Marco Oppedisano (here) and that kinship is not accidental; both strive to smash boundaries and stretch cerebella, surmounting the upper limit of the possible to terra novum, cartographers of Bedlam from the ground floor. These gents forgot that one is not supposed to enter the patients' dementia but, in doing so, have nonetheless brought back fascinating postcards from far over the edge. Picture an asylum orchestra of ketamined seizure victims epileptically working out post-Schoenberg tics and spasms, and you'll be in the ballpark.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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