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Old 03.28.2007, 05:20 AM   #1
raging_nelly
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Hey, handing this in as English A Level coursework.

Whadya think?

It got an 'A' grade in the drafting stages...

Mats Gustafsson / Sonic Youth With Friends –

Hidros 3 (For Patti Smith)



On Monday October 9th 2000, in the city of Ystad in Sweden, in the unlikely venue of the Ystads Konstmuseum, as part of the Kulturbro 2000 Festival, was a musical sight to be believed…

This was Mats Gustafsson's night. Mats Gustafsson being Sweden’s finest reeds player and free-jazz improviser known for his fiery saxophone techniques, decided to bring together an augmented Sonic Youth (New York’s greatest experimental rock group) along with friends Lindha Kallerdahl (a singer), Loren Connors (an American experimental guitarist), David Stackenäs (a Swedish guitarist) and Lotta Melin (an improvised dance choreographer) among others.

The result is a stunning 66,34 minutes of pure unadulterated experimental noise perfection, otherwise known as Mats Gustaffson’s composed piece, Hidros 3.

‘Whoah!’ You might say, ‘an hours worth of semi-improvised noise musicianship?’ Surely this is something you should definitely not ‘waste’ your hard earned £10.99 on? Well, yes, you can be forgiven for thinking that, and to be honest I was fairly disappointed to find that the CD was actually an hour-long piece of experimental music and not the batch of new Sonic Youth songs I was hoping for. But that was before I had had time to warm to the vast soundscape that lay before me, filling my ears with every audible frequency under the sun (and probably some inaudible ones as well!). It really does grow on you, providing a surprisingly ambient backdrop to pretty much anything you may encounter in your daily routine. Although it is something you may have to listen to in parts, as it is highly unlikely you will get through it in just one sitting, but this is not a problem as the piece is divided up into nine different parts easily navigational, and shockingly unique from one another.

The story behind the recording is interesting enough, and it is somewhat encouraging owning a piece of truly different and quite awe-inspiring music:

Mats Gustafsson played saxophone, Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth’s bass strummer and mic-strangler) provided vocals, with the lyrics apparently being provided by Patti Smith herself (the very same who this album is dedicated to), Lindha Kallerdahl provided vocals as well (albeit processed and extremely noised-up beyond recognition) and Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth’s once fifth member) did a live mix. These 4 musicians were in the largest chamber of the museum.
T
hurston Moore (Sonic Youth’s front man), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth’s guitar twiddler), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth’s drum basher), Loren Connors and David Stackenäs all played guitar in their own separate rooms, each room missing a wall, so the ‘audience’ could walk round and observe the performers (the performers however, being blocked off with a rope and a sign reading "Do not touch the musicians."). In amongst all this Lotta Melin provided work on an audio box, just for that much more extra noise.

I believe that the way this ‘song’ if you will, was achieved, is a highly inspirational way and forward thinking method of making music. Not only is the music itself highly varied and takes you to all manner of places, but imagine being there when it was actually being recorded. Walking through a subterranean landscape being bombarded with otherworldly noises whilst taking a peek at some of your favourite performers. It would have been truly magnificent.

The piece starts with a random assault of twinkling guitars bouncing peacefully around. This is until Kim Gordon’s soft voice comes floating in gracefully as if on a gentle summers breeze. By the time Part 3 – Contrabass Sax has come in, all the performers are in full sonic attack mode and the listener is greeted by an almost unlistenable assault of vibrations. Mats Gustafsson’s saxophone whines in a haunting way as if in pain, whereas the audio box and processed voice screech on in the ‘background.’ In amongst this crazed mess of sounds, the guitars are barely audible. After a brief contrabass saxophone ‘solo’ leaves ringing in your ears, the twinkling guitars begin to twinkle once more, and Kim Gordon is back again to relay more socio-political subliminal messages into our minds. Behind her caterwauling, a screen of white noise slowly builds until we get our first hearing of the processed voice, barely recognisable as a voice at all. Imagine taking your favourite “squeeze me here and I ‘speak”’ toy and smashing it up with a hammer. The resulting noise would be that of the processed voice within Hidros 3. More voice drifts in amongst the chaos (key ‘lyric:’ ‘I don’t understand language but I read magazines.’) before we come to a major assault of feedback and droning guitar chords. A haunting, repetitive audio box sample screams on at us from the background, and a pleasant keyboard sound sounds almost choral, before someone turns a dial somewhere and a load of distortion is drenched upon it and it becomes and painful wail. A huge crescendo ensues before a gentle fade-out leaves us feeling dazed at what just happened. And that’s it, Hidros 3 over…

I seriously recommend you get a hold of a copy of this. But just remember to keep an open mind when listening to it. It has the abilities to expand your musical tastes to places you never thought possible before. Even if it doesn’t, it might make you look ‘cultured’ along the way. You could show it off to your arty college friends!


By Alex Nelson
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Old 03.28.2007, 05:29 AM   #2
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Nice. You made me want to listen to it again.
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Old 02.16.2008, 10:10 AM   #3
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Your Review is Super Good ,I am really glad i got this one..Personally one my Favorite Kim Gordon performances !! one small/big note it Seems you left out i want Fans to Know..there are no "Drums" ..Steve is on the Guitar..thanks again..
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Old 02.16.2008, 02:13 PM   #5
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instantly went to my record rack and putted that on.
good review, maybe a little bit too good, cause I dont think that the record transports the whole idea very well.
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Old 02.16.2008, 04:14 PM   #6
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the performers however, being blocked off with a rope and a sign reading "Do not touch the musicians

LOL! i bet that looked awesome! good review too.
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Old 02.19.2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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What? Steve played guitar on this? Cool!
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Old 02.21.2009, 08:02 PM   #8
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Okay I want this album so bad, but I cannot find it anywhere.
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Old 02.21.2009, 11:32 PM   #9
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Hidros 3 and SYR 8 have some sax tones that creep up on you. Its like you assume they are something else and they turn out to be a sax...
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