Three big names of the avantgarde scene are featured in this excellent record documenting this edition of the Finnish Avanto Festival. Tony Conrad’s “DAGADAG for La Monte” is both the demonstration that time heals all wounds – remember Conrad and Young’s harsh verbal exchanges of the past years? – and a warped homage to the earliest forms of minimalism: a very simple melody repeated over and over, its maker’s violin timbre harmonized, modified and disfigured at various times during the piece. Ralf Wehowsky “transformed and morphed” the sonic essence of guitarist Topias Tiheäsalo and the Rogalli Revival Band (two female children and an oud), generating a 22-minute patchwork whose uncomfortable appearance is directly proportional to its intelligent arrangement. Wehowsky’s palette makes for powerful colour shedding and unpredictable semi-human behaviours featuring kids with a deviated intellect and monstrous frequency throbs that carve a bloody niche in our unsuspecting brain; the juice of the most interesting non-academic electroacoustic music flows in this man’s creative channels. “Out with the old” is an example of Jim O’Rourke’s mastery when dealing with trance-inducing music, for which he’s always been willing to recognize influences – most notably, Folke Rabe and Phill Niblock. It’s a splendid moment whose harmonic light changes continuously, even in the overall quasi-immobility of the piece; but it’s right there, at the core of that apparent stasis, that the vibrating energy of O’Rourke’s sound leaves in search of holes – in our bodies, minds and above all hearts – to be filled with the wish of something better of what we have, which is quite different from what they promised us when we were still young and trustful.


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