Finding ways to add randomly recorded sounds into a piece of music has the potential to add genius to an otherwise stale recording. It is quite transparent that this is Pete Petrisko’s process. Sadly, RPM Orchestra’s recordings show that it is extremely easy for anyone to make bad samples, record random noises, layer them on top of each other, produce a very poor recording complete with hisses and scratches, and label it as avant-garde.
A record and installation art are two separate monsters. RPM Orchestra makes for an amazing piece of installation art. The next time they assemble, count me in. However, as an audio recording livewire acts comes off as pretentious, self-aggrandizing, and could just as easily be executed by standing outside recording the sounds of rush hour traffic. The difference being that the traffic would capture the truly organic music of chaotic industry.
It has been said that the recordings are boundary pushing and redefine music (Paul Paradis of Allmusicblog - Bali). RPM Orchestra’s recordings do not redefine music. They take an almost-as-cynical-as-I-am-about-their-recordings approach to barely altering already written music and adding noises to them. This is when prior recordings are implemented; otherwise it is disjointed mess of random sounds.
It shows me a picture of a person who really wants to make music, but most likely never learned how to play an instrument. The only boundary that was pushed with this recording is how I feel about indulgent “artists” who bask in obscurity of purpose, hence, appearing as though they are making a statement. The statement that I am hearing is that, as horrifying as it may be, a mash-up of Britney Spears and Jimi Hendrix sounds better and is more entertaining than a mash-up of 1920s recordings and ticking clocks.
There is something mildly insulting about livewire acts. It takes on a tone that says, “If you don’t like it you must not have the intellectual capacity to understand.” Understanding is not the problem here. While RPM may be a wonderful piece of installation art, as an audio recording I simply say, “No thank you.” The silver lining of livewire acts is that this album is free. Unfortunately, I can never get back my time, and that’s the cosmic joke that RPM Orchestra plays upon the listener.
livewire acts is a collection of live performances by RPM Orchestra. I’m a huge fan of surrealism and a huge proponent of artistic expression in any form. I love the concept of altering items from the public domain to fit an individual’s own personal mode of expression, and a good sample can go a long way.