Peter Hannan/Henry Kucharzyk Phh!K

PHH!K is a project that takes a stab at spontaneous electronic music. Its principals, Peter Hannan and Henry Kucharzyk, have long explored electronic and acoustic spaces while working within a variety of forward-looking Canadian ensembles such as Arraymusic. They both have years of perspective on how to achieve highly spontaneous music that explores electronic sound for its own sake. PHH!K wisely avoids keyboard controllers (with their fixed, conventionally Western scaled structures) to achieve these effects. Hannan pays a midi wind controller and Buchla lightning, while Kucharzyk wreaks havoc with theremin-controlled sounds. The most effective tracks are the most "abstract" ones involving Hannan's excellent wind playing amidst a swirl of textures, as on "Raven Highway" and "Dexter Sinister." Whenever specific genre-related rhythms are referred to, things fall flat. In electronic music with repetitive beats, tonal qualities are very exact and should occupy precisely tuned body thumping or head nodding frequencies. The spontaneous nature of the system that PHH!K have set up precludes the fine-tuning of sounds and textures that dance music producers will spend weeks on. By the end of the disc, the types of sounds and processed vocals PHH!K are creating seem to lack variety and lose their impact. More attention in the mixing phase might have solved some of these problems, but it looks like PHH!K wanted to make a point to keep things as live as possible. Coming up with a cool performance system is one thing; making fully realised music with it is quite another. (Artifact)