Random Touch - "Through the Lens of the Other Dimension"
(Roadnoise 2010, TBR53832)
From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
Engagingly eccentric, Through the Lens of the Other Dimension is also wildly eclectic. The group (Scott Hammill-Guitar; James Day-Keyboards; Christopher Brown-Drums, Vocals) explores so many different musical genres that at times their songs sound like a kind of sonic patchwork woven from artists as diverse as Glen Branca, Weather Report and the Mothers of Invention. Using the improvisational impetus of jazz as a broad foundation, Random Touch move panoramically away from the jazz base of their music and embrace noise rock, classical minimalism, ambient, blues and spoken word as the most suitable vehicles for the expression of their brainy aesthetic. Perhaps the most accurate analogy for what Random Touch does would be The Residents, though without the latter's penchant for absurdist humor and jarring aural madness. And like The Residents the music of Random Touch can be just as frustrating, yet never predictable. Thus the group moves effortlessly through Eno-esque ambient landscapes (Awake at Dawn), Zappa-inspired fusion (Corresponding with Emily), free jazz (In the Care of the Dancing Marionette), 21st century chamber rock ala Birdsongs of the Mesozoic (Morning Rain), psychedelic weirdness (Orange Hair Beware), Sonic Youth-derived post rock (Millions of Acres), musique concrete (Embedding the Beat), and so on. This is one group that will take you a while to get your head around, but of course that's precisely the group's greatest strength and most endearing trait-again, much like The Residents. In a world of pre-fabricated assembly line music, Random Touch imbues its compositions with the element of uncertainty - a daring move in an industry that seems to have lost its unpredictability. Only the truly adventurous need apply here. No dolts allowed.
For more information you can visit the Random Touch web site at: http://www.randomtouch.com
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree