Building on the new recording style introduced in Horror Part IV Ė The Thing with Two Heads, (live, real-time recordings in a studio set up with a variety of instruments and without the overdubbed collaging that made up much of his earlier home recordings), Chadbourne here creates a suite for prepared, and very prepared, guitar.
The result is more musical than the kill-your-fathers destruction of Part IV, but is no less personal. Chadbourne approaches each of the eight pieces like a problem to solve. Unfortunately, we donít get any clues to the preparations of the instruments, but the impression is of the artist facing instruments outfitted with metal mutes and clips deadening the strings and, like a not-necessarily-stoned-but-experienced Anne-Sullivan, teaching them to sing.
Individually, the pieces are a series of noisy meditations. Distortion and overtone, quiet and brutal, unmuted strings ringing in the breeze, the tracks are challenging minuets exploring 6-string sonorities. As a whole, Horror Part V is a keyhole through which one can glimpse what it is the guitarist finds musical, when it is that he happens on a buzz deserving special attention or just the right sequence of hammered notes to force through a broken amp. Like the work of Derek Bailey and other great guitar experimenters, this isnít guitar music so much as music about guitars, and as such might be most rewarding for other guitarists. Itís not about prowess and dexterity. Itís an attempt (not the first, but a solid one) to discover the full vocabulary of the instrument, the as-yet uncharted sounds contained within. As such, itís a fascinating, viable work.
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