And there’s an extremely perceptive track-by-track review of the album up on listencorp (we expect nothing less!). My favorite part:
Reaching an ecclesiastical euphoria of harmonies and echoes, the voice doles out thank you’s from the creators of the course. After which things descend into instrumental chaos with glissando notes filling the soundscape, ending the course on an emphatic and almost ornate note tied off with a twinkling swish of pixellated bells at the very end.
When I received this one in my inbox, it immediately stood out to me as one of the most interesting concepts for an album. The entire EP is something of an essay being read aloud, except the message comes through… wrong. …
I‘m currently four listens in and I‘m quite sure I haven’t learned anything. But I do know that it is also very fun to listen to.
Read the full review over on the website. Thanks Lars et al!
Well, this is the kind of review one dreams about. From Underscore Music Magazine’s new series, The Inbox:
“God, I love this. I love the music and I love the idea, which is one of those you wish you’d thought of yourself and can’t believe it hasn’t been done before…Airy vocals, mangled library music, robotic spoken word and sudden flights of electronic fancy guide the listener through what seems to be a pretty complex academic paper…”
Woke up this morning to quite a few happy notifications. First, Monolith Cocktail has a great write-up of C.M.S.O. This lovely excerpt should get you to want to read the whole thing:
A writer of repute on the failures of tech, communication and self-preservation, Rodriguez (who also files his musical experiments under Alison’s Disapproval) lends a constantly filtered and affected spoken word narration across all six tracks as Kelly swans, touches the ethereal with her diaphanous woos, calls, arias (a merger of Laurie Anderson, cosmic opera and Jane Weaver). Often transmogrified by robotic effects and the slowing and speeding up of that instructive monologue, Rodriguez’s message is constantly warped, broken up: sometimes on the verge of some Max Headroom glitch stutter, or the slurred falling apart speech of HAL.
The music is mostly a computer treated voice/vocoder style, and along with some electronics playing some weird tune. The six pieces last altogether less than 19 minutes, which is perhaps the best thing for such a little curiosity. Great for confusion and confused to know what to say.
Vital Weekly also put out a podcast highlighting the music they’ve reviewed; be sure to check it out.
The coupling of these topics with abstract modern classical and electronics is unique as far as I can tell. And this degree of quirky novelty is certainly in line with Kelly’s previous release. After a few listens, I am not sure what I learned but I do feel a little smarter.
Autumn Roses spotlights the song “Conclusion” on their blog today, writing, “today their Orca, Attack! project released the surreal and psychedelic “listening guide” C.M.S.O. (Learning by Listening Vol. 1). You can take an apricot-colored, helix-shaped trip with its “Conclusion” above.”
…these pieces acknowledge the influence of Raymond Scott, beloved inventor of electronic instruments, unlikely jazz band leader and a composer whose distinctive approach leant itself to use in madcap cartoons – in short, the kind of avant garde personality we’re sorely missing in these uptight 2020s. You hear the overhang of Scott’s approach in a sort of playful bounce in these pieces, each of which find itself on an odd frontier between wide-eyed synth experiments and science documentary soundtrack. Both Kelly and Rodriguez contribute vocals, either as spoken-word, instructive lecture-esque monologues, or as angelic harmonies sweeping high above the accompanying electronic backdrops, or as processed, gradually slowed-down, indecipherable non sequiturs.
Read the full review over on the blog, and thank you to Mat for the kind words! C.M.S.O. releases on Friday and there are 4 cassettes left from Strategic Tape Reserve!
“Sounding like the infinitely looped announcements you might expect to hear in a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland where no one survived, something about what Elizabeth has done here seems to tap directly into the sensation of paranoid dread and existential panic that have become the cornerstones of our daily locked-down lives.”
The compilation opens wistfully with “The Heart Sounds Like Heavy Artillery” by the New Orleans based electronic composer Elizabeth Joan Kelly. A suitably gentle opening track built around an ambient soundscape with an almost industrial sounding rhythm.