Saturday, February 18, 2012

My review of Bob Ohrum's "All around me" is up on Alternative Matter

My review of Bob Ohrum's "All around me" was published today on Alternative Matter... here's a snippet:
I don’t want to criticise this release on the awesome Relaxed Machinery label… and am reminded of Ego’s monologue at the end of “Ratatouille”…

“…in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

Its just that it could have been so much more… Ohrum’s guitar playing is exquisite… and both his drones and his field recordings are lovely… but the noise was a distraction for me and could have acted as a barrier to entry. I am glad I gave it a thorough listen because I caught glimpses of real genius that I would have missed if I had otherwise been easily dismissive.

Now... please do not think for one minute that I was claiming this album to be junk... I wasn't and it's not. There are tracks on there that are not to my taste... but through perseverance I glimpsed the genius contained within the release. Please read the review on Alternative Matter to get the gist of what I am saying.

I don't want to be negative... there is far too much negativity in this world and I, for one, do not want to contribute to it... but sometimes things just don't work for you and you have to approach them in a balanced manner. I give everything a chance and never close my mind before I have experienced it. I hope that makes sense?

Anton Ego's monologue at the end of Ratatouille is an inspiration to me and I repost it here for you and me:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.

But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.

The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
I see my role to discover and defend the new.


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