An improvisational wonderland based on a short story The Barnum Museum by Pulitzer Prize winning author Steven Millhauser, Barry Schrader has developed a masterful sonic excusion attacking both the visceral and cerebral on a most surreal level.
Schrader has taken several of the ideas and then reinvents the conceptual nature of each piece into a programmatic tone poem about things that never existed. Improvisational music for the imagination. While seemingly complex in theory there is only one basic requirement as there is with any piece of recorded music. Listen...Free your mind of preconceived thoughts and ideas. Toss music appreciation and your theory class out the window at the same time. In short...Be the ball . The reality is there is a slowing growing number of composers that are attempting to merge a layered texture of music while acoustic oriented, the fusion of ambient electronic is ever present. An intuitive ear and thought process for textured melody turns out a release that while rich in color also has a spatial ambiance with the end result being a far more approachable electronic voice than ever before.
"The Romanesque and Gothic Entranceways" begins with the same grandiose style of sonic over load that was typical of the art rock group Emerson Lake & Palmer before dialing the dynamics back to the world of the more subdued modern classical. The shifting of meter and dynamics is seamless and adds great depth and character to this most engaging recording. "The Caged Griffin" is the improvisational equivalent of a cerebral narrative of your own choosing. An intense organic pulse is developing throughout the piece as Schrader is perhaps taking the electronic/ambient stylistic genres into uncharted territory.
While the form and functionality of western improvised music is perhaps laying the ground work, Schrader is a visionary for where his electronic impulses may take him on his next conceptualized journey. Much in the same fashion as the better art rock groups of the mid 1970's and early 80's the journey is left to the listener. Barry Schrader is simply the equivalent of a triple A travel agent, he puts the package together but how you spend your time is left totally in your own hands and mind. A fascinating release!
Tracks: The Romanesque And Gothic Entranceways; The Hall of Mermaids; The Caged Griffin; The Subterranean Level; The Flying Carpet; The Homunculus In A Jar; Barry Schrader Chinese Kaleidoscopes From Barnum Museum; The Chamber of False Things.