CURT OREN "Home" (Personal Archives)

This tape kind of baffled me. Curt Oren, who hails from the University of Iowa (The tape includes an expired parking pass from the school), has crafted 7 tracks consisting entirely  o fsaxophone compositions utilizing extended techniques, with breathy vocal accompaniments. If that sounds a lot like Colin Stetson to you, that's because this is ostensibly some sort of tribute to Stetson's approach to the instrument. Some of the songs on the bandcamp are even tagged with his name. I don't want to call this a ripoff, because he isn't just rehashing and reusing material from New History Warfare although clearly that album left a pretty big mark on Oren, and it's impressive that he managed to replicate the techniques and components of it so accurately (even down to the vocal accompaniment, Laurie Anderson is replaced by someone named Nora Petran). I loved that record, and I guess I love this tape. Oren takes the clanking and meandering contact mic'd saxophone a little further down the road, but it's hard to sell this as being much more than lo-fi version of New History Warfare. Still, I enjoyed the experience, I can’t get enough of this sound.

-- Timothy Johnson