The Franciscan Hobbies - "Walls Are Stuck"
(The Music Fellowship 2005, MF013)
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
The Franciscan Hobbies comprises three members from the acoustic experimental group Thuja, as well as other members of The Jewelled Antler, a San Francisco collective started by Glenn Donaldson and Loren Chasse, both of whom are in this group. As you might expect, if you are familiar at all with Thuja, this is acoustic, organic sounding music.
Unlike Thuja, there is more structure to the music of The Franciscan Hobbies, but it's still a very loose structure. Some of the music is quite busy, full of clicks, buzzing, shrieks, drones and other strange noises murmuring in the background, like on the eerie and somewhat Eastern influenced Asmodeus. But other tracks are hauntingly quiet and beautiful, like the melodic, environmental night time in the forest piece Satan Crystals. There is a lot of variety on Walls Are Stuck (which takes its name from a quote by Pandit Pran Nath: "Inside, walls are stuck; outside, ideas fly in all directions."). Indeed, ideas do fly in all directions, and the liberal use of environmental sounds does give this the feel sometimes of being recorded outside. Other times though, we could be stuck inside some kind of mad mechanical workshop, like on the clunky Death Music.
It sounds like the music on Walls Are Stuck is pretty much improvised on the spot, making it quite free and meandering. Vague melodies emerge from the slow rhythmic swirls then sink below the surface again. It all flows, like a river, naturally.
For more information, visit The Jewelled Antler web site at: http://www.jewelledantler.com.
Visit The Music Fellowship at: http://www.musicfellowship.com.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald