There are many elements of music which we take for granted, especially in traditional Western music, which Hubert Howe does not. These include the even-tempered scale and the concept of standard harmonics. Even the (relative) consistency of instrumental timbre, which is common to almost all music around the world, is eschewed by Mr. Howe in favor of his computer-generated sounds.
This album is part of an ongoing experiment in the outer limits of what can be done with music, walking the line between music and chaos. In Howe’s music, the line is frequently crossed. He created this album entirely using the CSound program (authored by Barry Vercoe). The user of this program can design artificial instruments, as well as override conventional acoustical physics, by selecting the partial overtones created by the notes played.
All of these intricate devices combine to create an alien atmosphere of sound. The first piece, Clusters, opens quietly, with what sounds like an organ, then throwing in harp-like glissandi, as the motion moves perpetually upward. There are some traditional devices used, such as the control of consonance and dissonance, and a prolonged call-and-response section. It all builds to an abrupt end.
The second track, Inharmonic Fantasy No. 2, sounds quite similar to the first, but it appears to be a study of vibrato, ranging from flat tones to heavy vibrato. Sometimes you think you can hear bells, and there are some interesting moments with a shimmering quality, but many of the sounds produced are cacophonic and difficult to listen to.