Brad Anderson – I Sing the Synthesizer Electric

With a formal musical education starting in the 1970s, Washington’s Brad Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music in 1985 and a Master of Arts in Music Composition in 1989. Brad describes his approach to classical composition: “[w]hile some pieces are through-composed, the majority are in ABA form. The restatement of the ‘A’ section is always an intensification of the previous ‘A’ section. The harmonies tend to be modal. Fourths, augmented fourths, fifths, minor seconds and major seconds are the most common intervals. Repetition of short motifs, sequence and contrary motion are my favorite vices.” He is a stalwart of the live music scene in the Pacific Northwest, as a solo act as well as in Noisegasm, traversing the gamut of styles beneath the banner of experimental electronic music, in addition to his classical leanings.

Krackwerk is the newest offering from Brad, and is a wonderful sample of the sonic alchemy he has been conjuring in clubs from Seattle to Portland and beyond. Armed with a laptop and a single keyboard, he effortlessly pulls new sounds from a seemingly minimalist setup. A common theme is an ambient soundscape in the vein of the Forbidden Planet score, an otherworldly chattering of overloaded circuits with blown out electronic drum patterns. 

Sweeping arpeggios on piano or a baroque harpsichord showcase Brad’s vast musical education. The journey takes a detour with a flute passage that would be at home on a prog masterpiece performed by Ian McDonald or Ray Thomas. Sprinkled throughout these soothing tones, the album shifts to arresting bursts of noise that feel like an entity forcing its way into our dimension. If synth experiments via the classical-tinged progressive rock kaleidoscope are of interest, Brad Anderson has the audio elixir for you.

Available digitally via https://bradanderson61.bandcamp.com/releases or on CD at live shows.

– Jeff Brown

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