Karl Larson & Doug Perkins – Robert Honstein: An Economy of Means

roberthonstein

Robert Honstein is a dope fucking composer. He’s alive, by the way -most of the composers I talk about are super fucking dead- which classifies this album under contemporary classical music. Generally, it’s easier to convince someone to pluck a stranger’s pubic hair than it is to listen to some contemporary classical music. But throw on some Honstein on a late chill night and everyone in a 10-meter radius of those speakers will be high as Bob Marley hotboxing a hatchback off those slick sound waves. This album slows a room down. The second hand on the clock will start second-guessing its next move. It has a way of settling thoughts and chilling out the wiggiest of weirdos. In this way, it’s similar to early Sigur Rós or some Philip Glass. It’s that dope, introspective, sparse, restrained, and heartfelt shit. It’s the type of music you’d put on to drift off in thought and take a cerebral vacation on planet fuck-this-shit-I’m-out. And it does all of this with a vibraphone, a piano, and some smooth fucking composition. 

Doug Perkins is a vibraphone monster. He starts off this album with a piece called “Filigree”. The guy throws down lighting-quick notes with the lightness of half-ply toilet paper. Generally, with speed comes power. The amount of practice and training it takes to play speed lightly is astounding. This shit does not come easy. When he gets down into those bass notes, they’re covered in a sheet of tin foil. This is done to stop some of that resonance from blaring out. The point of this piece is to stay as light and fluttery as a butterfly on Keto. Check out this shit out for yourself. On the next song Doug uses a bow on one of the keys to produce long ringing ethereal notes that would make a baby angel jealous. Couple songs later, this dude lays down more shit on top of his vibraphone, which gives it a metallic clong straight out of gamelan music. 

The ass end of this album goes under the title “Grand Tour” with Karl Larson on piano. Karl generally plays the shit out of the modern fucking canon. I’m talking: Olivier Messiaen, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, and Ligeti. That fast, dissonant, and bizzaro-type shit. The air and grace with which this motherfucker plays piano on the album is inspiring. This shit’s like Satie on heroin. Notes are played with the weight of falling leaves and the humility of Kanye. As the last note rings out, it disappears. The album closes yet the air of it remains with you. You’ll feel the desire for more. You’ll itch for this shit. But the only thing you can do to maintain that high is to play that shit again. If you’re an audio addict, this is sonic fucking opium. And as far as Honstein pushers go, Karl and Doug are maddest of fucking hustlers. 

 

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