Random Touch – Hammering on Moonlight

Sometimes I come across strange music in my P.O. Box. A good example is this cd by Random Touch. A completely unknown name to me, but this seems to be their third cd, besides two soundtracks. The biography made me curious, which is of course the intention of bios: “they are tougher than Radiohead, less structured tham King Crimson, less spacey and more angular than Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew”. This sounds like experimental music…

The band consist of two regular members: Christopher Brown (vocals, percussion) and James Day (keyboards). On this release they work together with Joe Zymonas (Chapman stick, bass). In their music there is a tension between modern technological possibilities and low-tech solutions. There is another conflict in their thematical content: that of rural verus suburban environments.

It is hard to call the 11 tracks on this cd songs. There are no melodies, no logical sounding structures, no pleasant sounding passages. Everything seems to be made in a random manner, which explains the bandname. Creating true random music seems to be fairly impossible. You are always limited by your equipment, by your (lack of) skills and by your more or less conscious decisions. But you can of course follow your instincts as much as possible and try to create something in a relatively organic manner, go with the flow. To quote the bio: “While they often play with traditional instruments and genres, their focus is first and foremost on letting the music play them”.

A few songs contains vocals, especially the first song, ‘Crazy in blue’. But most tracks are instrumental, sometimes with the stress on electronics, sometimes with dominant guitar sounds. The music goes back and forth, without any clear direction, constantly changing in sound, mood and speed. Rock, jazz, classical, electronics are all thrown in the improvisational mixer. Sounds are created from a variety of sources. This is really challenging stuff for the listener. It’s not music which you could call beautiful, it’s more an intersting experiment.

By the way, I like the artwork very much. On the cover a colourful painting full of details, by one James Barsness is printed, reminding me of Jeroen Bosch. The other artwork in the booklet, by bandmember C. Brown, is also interesting. The painting on the back makes me think of Marc Chagall.

This “Hammering on Moonlight” is surely an interesting release. My biggest problem: when do I listen to it? It is not suited as background music, it’s too chaotic for that. You won’t please many guests with it neither, I’m afraid… Perhaps it’s a good cd to put on after you’ve been watching MTV for a while, with all the instant hits with a predictable structure…

artist: Random Touch
label: Roadnoise Productions
details: 11 tracks