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Album Review

Three years after Quake, Chris Cutler and Thomas Di Muzio came back with a second serving of confusing electrified percussion and sampling. If anything, this album goes even further in blurring distinctions between the two protagonists' contributions, between acoustic and electronic, between real-time performance and post-production. Dust consists of two highly demanding 20-minute pieces that have been over-subdivided in pure Cutler fashion. "Requiem" is pure live action from a concert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, late 2000. Di Muzio uses samples of an elemental/drone nature (wind, growling tectonic sounds), plus he samples and processes the sounds produced by the percussionist: himself playing his trademark electric drums (a drum kit equipped with microphones routed through effects and a mixer). The resulting music is a captivating chunk of maximalist electro-acoustics, filled with unheard sounds and textures — Cutler's Solo CD with an extra layer of interaction. The origins of "Universal Decoding Machine" are found in a French studio on July 21, 2002. Using a similar set-up, Cutler and Di Muzio improvised while E.M. Thomas walked in and outside the studio wearing a binaural microphone set. His input was transmitted to engineer Bob Drake, who processed and fed it back to the musicians through loudspeakers. Later, Di Muzio added overdubs, and shaped and remixed the whole piece into its final form. It feels less spontaneous, much closer to electro-acoustic composition, with an episode of noisy techno thrown in to destabilize the listener (and it works). Di Muzio is known for the depth of his sonic assemblages, and Dust is no exception. After going through this album, if you feel 41 minutes is too short a duration, maybe you need to listen again and pay closer attention. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 04 January 1947 in Washington DC

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Chris Cutler has led a varied and surprising career as a drummer, record label executive, hard line socialist, and ethnomusicologist, among other labels, spanning over three decades of work and close to 100 records. Born in Washington, D.C., on January 4, 1947, but raised in England, Cutler began drumming in beat and psychedelic groups around 1966. His first group, Louise, played the clubs in London's psychedelic scene until disbanding three years later. With then-keyboardist of the band Egg, Dave...
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Dust, Chris Cutler
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