Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Function of the Pleonasm

It may be unseemly, since I'm involved in a couple of projects there, but I feel compelled to direct my public's attention to Pleonasm, a free online record label located at The label focuses on idiosyncratic DIY music, juvenalia, found sounds, and other quirky marginal genres. Although the imprint has existed for a year or so, label svengali Christian Cummings has recently engaged in a flurry of activity, offering new full length recordings by luminaries like Canadian text-sound poet bill bissett, multimedia artist Jeffrey Vallance, and pagan Life Metal band Flugeldar!, as well as a full schedule of forthcoming releases including work from Half Japanese mastermind Jad Fair and post-pop Wunderkind Nic Waterman.

If this wasn't remarkable enough, Cummings - inspired by Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music - has issued the first three volumes in the Human Music Anthology, culled from internet sources and organized into thematic clusters. Volume one is Tongues, focusing on glossolalia in a number of surprising manifetations; Vol 2 is a grab bag of unclassifiable amateur enthusiasms ("Song About Drinking Robitussin"; "Aspergers Girl") entitled Left Fieldists. But it is Volume 3: Extra Credit Songs that most spectacularly fulfills the potential of this Post-McLuhan anthropological foray.

Ranging from heartfelt piano & traps dissertations on the Electromagnetic Spectrum to polished electropop explications of the mechanics of Photosynthesis, these WTF gems were allegedly all created and launched into cyberspace by high school students trying to make up for their academic slack at the end of the term. Colonial History, Hyperbolic Geometry, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pi: no topic is too scholastic to be transformed into a death metal dirge or off-kilter rap. High School Musical 5 anyone?

No comments: