... but not so much musically. This collection is a good illustration of the critique once made by musician/producer Brian Eno (at one time an art school student of Phillips) that in the `60s and `70s, what he termed the "process art" faction of British Avant-Garde composers were often more concerned with how intriguingly intellectual the processes they used to compose their pieces were than with how interesting the results were to listen to; as he expressed it, the less intelligible a piece was, the higher its intellectual value was thought to be. Of course, that's a philosophy that goes back decades earlier, at least to the days of Schoenberg's development of twelve-tone serialization. An advantage of "process music" is that one doesn't necessarily need to have any particular musical or compositional skill, just raw material and a process. I don't mean that as a criticism of Phillips or any other particular composer - I say it from personal experience. That doesn't mean the results will necessarily be either good or bad; sometimes they can be surprisingly successful, other times, excruciatingly dreadful.
At any rate, after listening to this CD a couple of times, I found the booklet more interesting than the music itself. A couple of the pieces are so-so, but most of these pieces don't do much for me. I had hopes for this CD when I ordered it because I really like some of Phillips' other work, especially his masterpiece, the altered-text/graphic novel, "A Humument". As for his music, the only other piece I was previously familiar with was his opera, "Irma", itself developed out of selections from "A Humument", as were some of the pieces on this CD, according to the booklet.Read more ›
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