NATHAN VINSON — Bitter Struggle - Inevitable Outcome (review)

NATHAN VINSON — Bitter Struggle - Inevitable Outcome album cover Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
For those who do not know, Nathan Vinson is a jazz pianist and avant-garde composer who resides in Dallas TX and creates very unique drumnbass/jungle pieces on his PC. Nathan eschews standard verse-chorus structures and instead lets his music software ramble on in a seeming jam session with itself. Many of these pieces are built with techniques known to the modern composer such as setting up processes so that random events are allowed to happen within set parameters chosen by the composer. Certainly the different types of music composition software that are available these days have opened up a floodgate in regards to this sort of music creating technique. In Vinson’s music, for example, a program can run various drum lines, keyboard lines and vocal samples in variations that will never repeat, giving a song a unique performance every time out.

Its really hard to describe this music, maybe you have heard some things by Squarepusher or Aphex Twin that are remotely similar. Other influences that show in the little snippets of keyboard lines include Sun Ra, Martin Denny and Theolonius Monk. Throughout this music there is a quirky humor that brings to mind much of Sun Ra’s small ensemble tongue-in-cheek exotica pieces. The other major presence in many of these pieces is Vinson’s fascination with tweaking vocal samples. All through this record various crazy southern preachers, huckster politicians and angry hillbillies spew random thoughts and syllables, foam at the mouth in their confusion and become unhinged as their own words become their own worst enemy. ‘Splattered Opinions’ in particular is hilarious as a confused and scrambled Walter Brennan sounds more paranoid than usual as he warns of an out of control federal government with bizarre lines like, ‘I can remember when there was no future’. Fortunately Vinson also gives us a break from the vocal samples occasionally with instrumental numbers such as ‘Spray Paint’, which sounds like a Webern/Xennakis styled process derived modern composition backed occasionally by a beatnik on the trap set.

This CD isn’t for everyone, even fans of outsider drumnbass may find this one too odd. A lot of the pieces can get to sounding the same after awhile and the combination of the rambling voices and the low-fi production can get fatiguing. Personally I would recommend the songs on here in smaller doses, or use the best ones as a great add on to any unique experimental-exotica-electronica mix CD.
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