As a musical tool, extended technique is intended to alter people’s perceptions of what certain instruments can do. While the exploitation of various instruments’ structural anomalies has produced highly idiomatic and innovative works such as Penderecki’s ubiquitous Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, these techniques have started to become slightly clichéd and almost commonplace in many branches of the experimental music world. At this point, it seems that the “true” vanguard of instrumental performance/writing largely comes from the performer’s/composer’s ability to combine extended technique with a healthy does of electronics and non-“academic” musical language in order to create something truly new.
Luckily, Diamond Terrifier (a.k.a Sam Hillmer of ZS) is just such a performer. More so than any of his fellow virtuosic sax-wielding peers, Hillmer is capable of turning his instrument of choice into something truly unrecognizable. Hillmer recently collaborated at CMJ with goth-pop crooner Kirin J. Callinan and the two produced some instrument-/genre-defying results in the process. At first, Callinan might seem to be a bit of an odd choice as a collaborator for Hillmer, but the way he subverts his usual style acts a foil to Hillmer’s subversion of his instrument. As a result, they manage to seamlessly meld their sounds together in an improvisation that delights not only in sheer blasts of noise, but also in the the melodies and hidden similarities within that noise.
Stay tuned for news about Diamond Terrifier’s new solo album The Subtle Body Wears A Shadow, and check out this collaboration between him and Kirin J. Callinan (who are playing together tomorrow at The Bowery Electric), courtesy of Terrible Records: