21055-2, CD, $14.00
Download from iTunes
|| Gen Ken Montgomery
Birds + Machines (1980-1989)
"With the enthusiasm of a born-again composer, I reviewed music I composed
in the 80s, giving special attention to pieces that fused electronic sounds
with everyday recorded sounds and noisy songs." - Gen Ken
I knew of Gen Ken Montgomery long before I ever met him, in fact one of the
first tracks to attract me to his music is on this cd. And then I did meet him,
etc etc. (Ken was a co-founder of Pogus, by the way). So it is with special
delight that Pogus can release this cd of Ken's works from the 1980's.
I think that what Rene van Peer writes in his notes for this disc sums up
much of Ken's work indeed:
Gen Ken Montgomery's sound worlds are full of activity. Not in the sense of
sinuous melodies and chord progressions that try to set flea-hopping records.
The sounds conjure up images and atmospheres of workshops where people busy
themselves with assembling and repairing a variety of contraptions. Places where
humans and tools intermingle, where technology (both hi and lo) appears as a
trusted and respected companion. It is as much accepted as an integral part
of the human sphere as a dog or a cat might be - and it sounds equally homely.
That is not to say that all sounds you'll hear in his music are commonplace,
mundane. Many of them are immediately recognizable. Many of them can be traced
to their source, even through dense veils of modification. Some derive clearly
from instruments, some from birds. But many are absolutely singular, there's
no telling what produced them. And to tell you the truth (my truth): it doesn't
really matter. Regardless what sounds or sources form the components of this
music (everyday or extraordinary objects; musical instruments or electronic
tools; his own voice or environmental recordings), what is important is the
mind that processes them and welds them together into the independent entities
that we call songs.
It is evidently an open mind that enjoys toying with sounds. His music sounds
as if he works with what he finds. Obviously he has prepared materials to be
used. But the way he puts everything together makes the impression of someone
following his judgment of the situation on the spot. These are not guided tours,
mapped out beforehand. These songs are explorations. Trips into an unknown.
They aren't, however, excursions done in seclusion. Everywhere he goes Ken Montgomery
creates a buzz. He creates a sphere of sound around him that feels humane, sociable.
A warm cloud of sonic strangeness. But a loud cloud, too, mind you.