(Avant Music News) Mutations is the product of the virtual collaboration of sound artists and instrument builders Bryan Day of San Francisco and Jay Kreimer of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Marco Albert, an Italian-born musician now based on Oaxaca, Mexico. The three played together in Queretaro, Mexico, in 2018 at the Festival Internacional de Improvisación y Música Extrema, where they had the idea of continuing to work together via file sharing. For Mutations, each recorded his part at home; Albert provided the final mix. The six tracks give evidence of the trio’s fine chemistry and obvious compatibility of approaches to sound, as well as the willingness of each to build an uncluttered audio space in which the others can thrive. Consequently, Day and Kriemer’s invented instruments combine with Albert’s electronics and voice to create richly colored environments telling of unlikely sounds: imaginary objects ricocheting off of mirrors amid electronic glisses bringing news of yesterday’s vision of the future. Albert’s voice grounds several of the pieces as he whispers coded messages against a background of kalimba-like, ad hoc percussion and scraped metal, delivers a lecture on modern art and objectification to an increasingly raucous—skeptical?—Greek chorus of noise, or chants over burbling sounds recalling the reaction of baking soda with hot water. - Daniel Barbiero
(Chattanooga Pulse) There are two completely different ways this writer considered approaching the new album Mutations created by Marco Albert (from Oaxaca, Mexico), Bryan Day (from San Francisco) and Jay Kreimer (from Lincoln, Neb.): 1) find out as much information as possible about the musicians and sound-making processes, or 2) just “accept the mystery” (to borrow a quote from the Coen Brothers’ film A Serious Man). Day and Kreimer are both instrument inventors and improvisers, while Albert is a vocalist and electronics wiz, and the trio came together for a performance at the 2017 Festival Internacional de Improvisación y Música Extrema in Mexico and subsequently embarked on a long-distance collaboration involving passing around recordings that were edited and mixed together. Gleaning a few hints from video footage from the Festival—the entire 20-minute set is on YouTube—we see Day and Kreimer striking and scraping their inventions, primarily staying the realm of percussion, while Albert’s words and wordless outbursts are wild and sometimes harrowing. Kreimer seems to hit a sort of amplified hammered dulcimer-esque instrument mounted on a tripod, while Day has an entire table full of his creations, including antennas, effects processors, a wooden trapezoid and one instrument that uses five tape measures each extended to a different length. Some similar sounds seem to re-appear on Mutations, but the details are fuzzy. While the Festival performance was a live improvisation, Mutations is a carefully assembled recording, and without delving into background information, one could imagine this music being some kind of fascinating invocation for an arcane, modern ritual with physical and electronic sound-making. Eerie and sinister spell-casting is evoked from windy sounds, while metal bits are rubbed and plucked, resembling kalimba tones. Each track dwells on its own sound-realm; “Mutation 5” has an obsession with springy “boing” noises, while “Mutation 6” offers aquatic gurgling amid the impulses of synthetic calculations. Albert’s vocals are as enigmatic as the sounds, with both Spanish and English words that are sometimes distorted and sometimes whispered, suggesting secrets that are revealed without giving it all away. - Ernie Paik
(Chain DLK) This is the work of Marco Albert on voice and electronics and Bryan Day and Jay Kreimer, both on "invented instruments." Like many artists on the Public Eyesore label, these artists are new to me. However, I have found that I have enjoyed most of the things that PE has put out, so let's see how this measures up. I hope it measures up well, since Bryan Day is the man behind the label! Mutation 1 begins with sparse bits of heavily processed chaotic noises. This is incidental music to play in the soundtrack of your dreams. It becomes increasingly aggressive as the track moves on until it is full on chaos. Mutation 2 features whispered Spanish and English voice over loosely strung guitar and balafon, interrupted by scraping metal, with the voices becoming increasingly processed over time. Mutation 3 is chanting/singing over chaotic percussion and bowed strings, and Mutation 4 keeps this feeling going with spoken word about art theory over a noisy background. Mutation 5 is thudding percussion over the sounds of wheels on rough pavement. An organ drones as bass slaps and metal rattles. It has a rhythm like an off center washing machine until it eventually falls completely apart. Mutation 6 changes it up to conclude with lots of drone, voice, and bubbling water. This was interesting and well constructed. If you like experimental improvisation, this may be up your alley. Another solid entry to the Public Eyesore catalog. This album weighs in at around 36 minutes.
(Revue et Corrigee) Dans sa chronique sur Avant Music News, le camarade Ernie Paik voit deux façons d’écouter Mutations : soit en allant à la recherche d’un maximum d’informations sur les musiciens et leurs secrets de fabrication, soit en acceptant simplement le mystère (« Accept the mystery », réplique entendue dans A Serious Man des frères Coen). Soyons un peu entre les deux : Marco Albert, Italien résidant à Oaxaca au Mexique, Bryan Day, de San Francisco, et Jay Kreimer, de Lincoln, Nebraska, ont joué ensemble en 2017 au festival de Queretaro, au Mexique (on peut voir un extrait de leur concert sur YouTube, FÏME - Festival Internacional de Improvisacion y Musica Extrema / Set IX). Les trois musiciens ont eu envie de continuer l’expérience, mais chacun chez soi, Marco Albert se chargeant du mixage final. Et le moins que l’on puisse dire, c’est que ce travail à distance ne nuit en rien à l’homogénéité du trio, ni, ce qui est plus surprenant, à la dynamique de l’ensemble. C’est sur une trame électronique avancée par Marco qu’interviennent les instruments inventés par Bryan et Jay, qui semblent constitués de métal et de ressorts, percutés ou frottés. Les six « Mutations », parfois agrémentées par les interventions vocales de Marco, en italien, en anglais ou en espagnol, tour à tour chuchotées, gutturales ou réverbérées, voire chantées, réussissent à captiver, qu’elles tintinnabulent, qu’elles ferraillent ou qu’elles glougloutent. D’aucuns trouveront qu’il manque des images et des sous-titres, mais on peut tout à fait à mon sens se contenter de leur absence. - Claude Colpaert
(Sound Projector) I’m reading Mutations (PUBLIC EYESORE PE142) as a showcase for the voice work of Marco Albert, though that may be wrong…his voice doesn’t appear to show up until the second track, when he starts whispering and bleating urgent messages in his own language (Italian, though he now lives in Mexico). Thereafter further vocal performances follow, showing a strong range of what this imaginative fellow can do with his pipes…track 3 shows him moaning in long tones like a mad monk, gradually reaching a trance state where he growls like Yma Sumac in her jaguar mode. On track 4, his words are all but nonsensical, but he speaks them in the measured tones of an authoritative lecturer – until madness overtakes him once again, and the prose becomes poetically incoherent. Only track 6 offers something vaguely melodic, showing there’s a compassionate and warm side to this strange singing man, but even so the transformations – mutations, as the title insists – of his voice are quite extreme and make him appear alien and bizarre, even as he tries to bring us a message of peace and calm. This leaves us with tracks 1 and 5, both maelstroms of whirling violence, and if there is a voice trapped inside this musical hall of blades then heaven help the poor soul, and we can only pray for his escape. Marco Albert performs the electronic changes on his vocal work himself, and is aided in these heroic psycho-dramas by two fine American musicians: Bryan Day of San Francisco, who runs this label, and Jay Kreimer of Nebraska; Kreimer has made a career out of building instruments from unlikely objects, and it seems he’s notorious among the hardware stores in that state for his creative repurposing. Both Day and Kreimer are credited with “invented instruments” on this release, an area of endeavour that is well represented on other Public Eyesore records, and is likely to constitute a large part of Bryan Day’s aesthetic philosophy. Interestingly, it seems the three never met up in person to make these recordings, but did their parts at home and sent them to Albert for editing and assembly. The result is a surreal, semi-pagan odyssey of possessed sounds, hard to decrypt and yet imbued with a sense of profound significance. - Ed Pinsent