Sunday, May 1, 2011

Warner Badenoch

5 Études is a brilliant introduction to the work of the Canadian “outsider” composer Warner Badenoch. There seems to be little record of Badenoch’s existence other than where he lived and worked, or that he was remotely interested in music at allfor it was only after his death that the secret life of this genius was revealed in a shoebox filled with compositions transcribed on scraps of toilet paper. Now the label Brutique presents an interpretation of some of these scraps from the multi-instrumentalist, Avis Torkelson. The result is romantic and solitary with each étude having been arranged for madame chiouque* and recorded in Torkelson’s own lakeside studio. Clearly a window was left open to allow some sounds in from the outside giving the recording an openness true to the work itself. Albeit strange, this music is rather joyful and light in a rich, satisfying way. One can only guess how Badenoch conducted his work in his head, how it all played out while sitting alone in his bathroom, but Torkelson has given us something beautifully resonant and original regardless.

*a madame chiouque is a 6-string hybrid that also produces sine waves

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