Somnambule - Writing About Music

Guillermo E. Brown ~ Black Dreams 1.0

Guillermo E. Brown holds down the beats and then some on a number of Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series releases as well as playing in saxophonist David S. Ware’s band. As this album and its predecessor (2002’s Soul At The Hands Of The Machine) attest, his interest is in exploring the rhythmic interface between electronica and improv. Brown’s soundworld, however, is very different from that of Blue Series colleagues such as Matthew Shipp, DJ Spooky et al. It’s determinedly lo-fi, slurred and abrasive with junkyard beats that range from jazzy cymbal breaks to peg-legged stomps. 14 of the cd’s 23 tracks are less than two minutes long, with some seeming to disappear almost before they’ve begun. The overall impression is of a mutating bricolage, as though the music were made from repurposed sonic detritus. There’s something messy, psychically homeless, id-like about the result which chimes with the ambiguity of the title. It seems that Brown’s rhythmachines have broken down repeatedly and been repaired increasingly haphazardly. There’s no peace in these 52 minutes. Black Dreams 1.0 is a whirling vortex, an almost relentlessly chaotic onslaught, so much so that this record can’t be recommended for those of a claustrophobic disposition. Everyone else: ensure possessions are securely tied down before listening.
Colin Buttimer
October 2004
Published by Grooves magazine