Published Mar 01, 2014Music is a vehicle for expression. While that statement seems to be a complete no-brainer, when one is confronted with 23 tracks of blazing eccentricity, the question then becomes: What function does music play in expression?
What we have here is a collection (Volume 3!) of "outsider music." This term is applied to music created by individuals who make music that comes unfiltered from their psyches with barely a nod to convention. While there are rambling monologues of what seems to be free association, most of the tracks here feature some kind of instrumental backing. They include everything from rudimentary cassette tape manipulation to '70s kids samplers to the most basic of guitar bashing to fairly sophisticated cello/guitar/piano accompaniment to testimonies from "patients." One can listen and brush it off with a patronizing cynicism, but why bother when you know for a fact that these performers really couldn't care less?
The thing that shines for most of this music is a childlike quality that is sometimes quite charming. Imagine a five-year-old improvising a song and you will get the idea. There are also recordings of Dion McGregor, who talks in his sleep with an amazing ability for narrative, Steve Wallis, whose narrative is a loop of self absorption and Aidan Walsh, the self-proclaimed Master of the Universe ,who basically free associates circus MC-style, not to mention songs about local social events. These are field recordings from the itinerant imagination. (Sub Rosa)