Glenn Williams; Who Says Birds Don't Do Things Just For Fun?Creel Pone
CP 208 CD
Wow, just wow. One of the dynamics at play in the C.P. program that has been all but absent in the recent catalogue is the "one man against the world" spec. These politically-charged times make me hesitant to use the catch-all "outsider", although, in the case of upstate-New York Composer Glenn Williams, it's clear that a palpable distance from the greater world was, indeed, in effect.
Let's first focus on the music; the A-side's side-length title piece works a long-form take of the exact sort of everything-in-a-room, recorded-through-microphones into a sound-on-sound systems evident on recent recordings by Graham Lambkin et.al. What appear to be stray, improvised mono-synth figures played with one hand on the keys, another on the pause button of a tape machine - ala Anton Bruhin - builds in complexity & intensity. His phrasing recalls Sun Ra's various Moog phases - "My Brother the Wind v.2" comes to mind - and yet the actual tonal & timbral frameworks that lend to the composition's formal structure seem ... hazy, at best.
The second side is peppered with shorter takes of the same music; titles such as "Three Songs from Break Dance Suite", "Debate Amongst Galaxies" et.al lend a contemporary, spaced-out mid-80s feel, but really, given the techniques & topologies at play this music could have been conjured at any point from the early 50s clear through to now.
The album's 4-page insert - beautifully reconstructed & perfectly legible across this replica edition's gatefold inner - paints a broader picture, referencing the Composer's pedigree: "In Cork, Ireland Glenn set up his first full scale electronic workshop", "In 1976-76 he entered the Institute of Sonology, a division of the University of Utrecht devoted to the study of Electronic and Computor (sic) sound". He - or the unnamed person who penned the liner notes; it's unclear if the edition in question is self-released or perhaps a posthumous collection, having seemingly been released by a funeral home / cemetary - places himself in a canon with Beethoven, Pergolesi, Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Gottschalk, Busoni, Prokovieff, Ives, and the like.
One of the more bewitching entrants into the C.P. canon, and a clear - if completely un-cited - precedent for the exact sort of home-studio, post-consciousness tape-collage aesthetic currently being vamped on globally.