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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Mick Sussman - The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator, Vol. 2 [Anticausal Systems - 2019]

Here’s the second volume of music created by the Rosenberg Algorithmic-  a computer music generator created by New York-based avant-garde composer Mick Sussman. And once again we get a selection of manic & crazed compositions, that apt shift between genres & normal musical rules. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Vol of this series, which made it high my best of 2018 list….so is this as good consistent as the first vol?....well it has it’s moments of deranged sonic genius, but equally there's a lot of tracks that just don’t work at all- been more of sonic piles up, instead of worthy-yet- quirky composition.

The release comes in either cassette or digital download- we sadly only got the digital review copy, so I can’t really comment on the tape. In all the release takes sixteen tracks and these each run between three & four minutes apiece. The tape had an edition of fifty copies, and according to Sussman's Bandcamp, there are still copies left.

The release opens with "Complacently Sprightliest (Rb. 851)"- this is best described as soured muzak, with a slightly medieval feel to it- as two or three layers of rapidly darting & jaunting melody are fed together with tight percussion brushers- all to create a discordant rushing structure. The next few tracks really follow the seemingly discordant & messy flow, It’s not until track five we get something wholly worthy in the form of "Piratical Editorial (Rb. 881)"- which sees slowly slurring & pitch shifting vibe like choppiness- all sounding like some melted fair ground monster made from many smaller rides & slot machine. Another worthy moment is off-color electro jig meets wonky techno stab of "Uselessness Warble (Rb. 738)".  Or the final track "Slangiest Colonialist (Rb. 815)"- which sounds like a blend of sped-up electro-country music & manic stabbing vibe brightness. The problem is even these track feel too overloaded & busy for there own good, with the genre traits they are trying to mimic or recreate, just lost in the collisions of different layers of stuff.

So, in conclusion, I certainly still enjoy the sound & possibilities created by the Rosenberg Algorithmic, and there are few effective, balanced, and slight more focused tracks here- the issue is the other stuff which sadly often comes out as a manic pile-up of electro textures, that gives little entertainment or appeal- if you liked the first Vol you may enjoy some of what’s here, but if your new to Sussman I’d start on the first vol, as it’s a lot more consistent.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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