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Transgression (Part Two of a Trilogy)


1997 second album by Graham Bowers (1943-2015). "On Transgression, Graham Bowers takes his work even further than its predecessor, Of Mary's Blood (RWCD 001CD). Measured in terms of how most people rate music, this album is even more 'out there' and 'difficult' than his earlier work, which is saying quite a bit. But then again, an objective 'snapshot' of where humanity stands today combined with a highly personal account of his raising in a Christian society and all of the accompanying oddities was never going to be a radio hit. As Bowers puts it, 'I am an atheist, but the product of Christianity, so for me a good starting point was the fertilisation of Mary, with the introduction of 23 chromosomes from God almighty to join the 23 chromosomes waiting in the egg within her earthly body.' On this almost-fifty-minute-long continuous track as it gushes like an out-of-control rollercoaster log on a wild water canyon through the outskirts of the composer's mind, Bowers uses both electronic and acoustic means, gluing them together in sometimes surreal and crass scenes. The opening section consists of a string crescendo, as if from an orchestra tuning up, with dissonant flutes obnoxiously whistling and trumpeting from the sides. As the harmonies and rolling timpani prepare for an apocalyptic climax, a berserk electric guitar out of nowhere abruptly shreds all texture to pieces. The largest part of the middle then focuses on vocals. As incomparable as most of it may appear, Ligeti would have been proud and unable to withdraw his attention from this associative moaning, wailing, whining, pleading, baiting, humming, and even singing or dissolving into deep, aspirated breaths, combined with the drunken babblings of a piano. As the music approaches the end, it turns more collage-like and layers various sounds in an oneiric musique concrète tightrope act. Throughout, Bowers proves to be a master of transitions, ripping listeners from one mood and placing them in the next with striking ease. Most of all however, he presents himself like a highly artistic master of ceremonies, who consciously uses the contrasts between the ecstatic and frenzied moments and the fragile interludes to create powerful effects. " --Tobias Fischer. CD accompanied by a fold-out booklet containing the associated artworks painted by Graham Bowers.