A hefty portion of Jon Rose's prolific life has been spent cultivating what he describes as a Total Artform -- a dedication to and an expansion of the violin, both within the musical and non-musical world. This has resulted in countless records collaborated with unimpeachable company (Fred Frith, Otomo Yoshihide, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, etc.), an absurd assortment of non-standard string instruments (including Relative Violinsand the Fence), and a borderline unhealthy obsession with the market for music and violins. This last item, the marketplace and economics of music, appears to be a major theme in both Violin Music For Supermarkets and a great deal of the writing with which he has involved himself (these presumably satirical examples are notably hilarious).
This album in question is a cycle of thirty-three songs, originally commissioned for the Australia Broadcast Corporation, juxtaposing bizarre sound (field recordings, cantankerous noise, and of course violins) against spoken word passages. In these vocal segments, several individuals describe their affinity for shopping -- how they not only enjoy the goods they purchase but also the actual act of consumption. The language of these shoppers is highly compact, containing acronyms and shorthands that are translated and comprehendible at first. However, by the penultimate track, as a couple discusses how shopping is a way of life, their exchange is too foreign to discern, disintegrating into mindless babble soundtracked to music I doubt you'd find in a Goldline.com commercial.
I may very well be reading far too much into Mr. Rose's body of work (as all good social scientists must), but given his written history, I cannot help but view this album as a scathing indictment of neoliberal capital realism; the aforementioned juxtaposition manages to reveal these prayers to The Economy as exactly what are -- foolish. Now yes, to gain utility from shopping and a blind acceptance of market forces is ludicrous -- this should be obvious to many --; yet few could hope to demonstrate this claim in such an entertaining and naked fashion.
If that last paragraph was unwarranted, then I leave you with this PSA courtesy of Jon Rose:
"Remember, if you're going to commit suicide in a car, do it in a Porsche."
Analise por Killed In Cars.
Basicamente uma aula de experimentalismo conceitual, um dos discos mais impressionantes que já ouvi na vida. Altamente recomendado.