I didn’t realize that Random Touch had so many recordings out but this is one interesting band. On one hand the music has a avant garde approach, bringing in elements of the more intense RIO jazz influences, but also has a space music and electronic experimental side to it. Add some occasional vocals that mostly interject little story board ditties or odd comments, then you might have an idea of how this band sounds on Reverberating Apparatus.
The founders are Christopher Brown ( drums and vocals ) and James Ray (keyboards) then you have Scott Hamill (guitars). They fit together extremely well as three musicians making this sort of complex music. Brown and Ray have been playing together since High School. Their early work was based on micro tonality ( research Harry Partch to see what that is all about) To some, it will sound like noise and just jamming madly backwards on a sea of air. To the RIO ( Rock In Opposition) or experimental music lover, it is a fine example. It takes some time and undivided attention to get into this as it just will never do as background or ‘listen while you do the laundry’ music. So you will have to like the more abstract avant jazz pieces from artists like John Zorn, The Chicago Art Ensemble and King Crimson ( Starless and Bible Black, and Red ), along with a healthy love for Fred Frith’s experimental solos (Guitar Solos), and enjoy the spots where there is the calm and pretty stuff. Surely enough, just after the beauty will come a The Residents style ( Walter Westinghouse) type story with vocals that keeps you listening, never expecting what’s next. It’s quite a experience to sit through the entire CD. Sometimes you feel like you are on a bus ( Song 12 “Gotta Go”) and sometimes on a carousel ( Song 11 “Re-Membering”). You are always traveling somewhere with this music.
This music does indeed have a thread, and structure, and deep composition. Is it easy to listen to? Well being progressive music lovers, and taking into account all the comparisons I have thrown out above, you have to know your limits. That’s what Clint Eastwood would say. For me, I enjoyed this adventure. After all, who wants wallpaper music that you can predict, or dust your house to? People who hate progressive music, that’s who. I really liked how they had one song being all spacey, then one a bit more intense, and even a nice piano part where a baker’s dozen of music styles are introduced in short blips. Many things morph into other ideas on this recording.. I also loved the huge variety of sounds they use from guitar, keys, drums, and vocals. Gadgets and technology allows so much for artists. Random Touch sure does take advantage of it.
It’s so hard to describe the music in an exact way, and all one can do is sit back and enjoy the thought and production process that the band went through to present these wildly stimulating 12 songs of brilliant substance. This CD equally great on headphones as it is on a large audiophile open room stereo. Highly recommended for the adventurous and those with a good quiet hour of free time, so they can appreciate this thing as it was meant to be listened to and received.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on February 17th, 2011