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DOLDEN, PAUL: Who has the BIGGEST Sound?
Paul Dolden is a Canadian cross-genre electroacoustic slash rock slash contemporary music slash maverick composer, who has developed a highly idiosyncratic methodology consisting of multi-multi-multi-tracking; layering, piling up, speeding up and processing vast masses of instruments (all acoustic in origin) to create quasi-familiar but unsettling sonorities organised into a music that, although it uses familiar elements, is usually too fast, too chaotic, too hectic or too complex to grasp before it moves on. There are moments of sub-Zappa absurdity that could have been skipped, but there are also long stretches of extremely rich and intriguing collage and stimulating unfamiliarity. And it covers a great deal of ground, not lingering or troubling itself with coherence or development or narrative thread. It sounds like nothing else because, although a lot of the sounds seem electronic or sampled, they arenít. Only Biota occasionally come close to this aesthetic, though they are generically narrower and developmentally far more coherent. The second piece on the CD, The Un-Tempered Orchestra, explores (using similar but less extremely deployed techniques) the integration, or cohabitation, of non-Western and non-standard, pitch systems. This is more moderate in its means, more subtle in its exposition and more consistent compositionally. Still scattershot, but undeniably rich. Altogether worth investigating.