Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom: Daytime Viewing (Unseen Worlds, 2013)

July 31, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom: Daytime Viewing

Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom: Daytime Viewing

This is the first public release of a 1982 song-cycle by artist/composer/designer Jacqueline Humbert and electro-acoustic pioneer David Rosenboom. The album combines lush, minimal-synth, almost new-age synthesizer arrangements with spoken and sung vocals. and lyrics about being entranced by daytime television. The two “Talk” tracks are definitely in the Robert Ashley mode of spoken drama observations with minimalist music, although this music is much lighter in tone and poppier, and there’s sung vocals as well. “Bareback” is kind of an avant-country-pop song, with a series of “where were you?” questions for lyrics, and a sweet, almost saccharine arrangement and melody. Are those synths imitating accordions? “Domestic Violence” is almost relaxing and even chipper, and kind of cheesy-loungey around the middle (those synth-flutes!), until you realize the lyrics are about, well, domestic violence. Even if you’re not listening to the lyrics, the crying baby after the 5 minute mark will break you out of whatever pleasant mood the lyrics might be putting you in. “Distant Space” is another short avant-pop song, which in some weird way reminds me of some of Negativland’s jingle-like original songs (like “Happy Heroes”). “Wishes” alternates between melancholic sung choruses about wishing to visit New York, Paris, and L.A., and Algebra Suicide-like spoken verse about fashion and plastic, over an oddly gospel-inspired clapping synth-pop rhythm. Another fantastic release on Unseen Worlds, a reissue label which definitely seems to value quality over quantity. They only seem to release about 2 records a year, but the last few were ingenious works by Laurie Spiegel and Maria Monti, and this is another jewel in their crown.

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