CD REVIEW: Tim Gerwing - 'Being to Being'
By Steve Allat - 05/19/2004 - 02:41 AM EDT
Artist: Tim Gerwing
Album: 'Being to Being'
For Fans Of: David Sylvian, Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre
Fav Tracks: fire, a.e.m.
A little change of pace and a note for listener's - your western ear will only serve you part of the way on the eastern-influenced journey that Tim takes us on. Explaining his music, in his own words as a 'rare and alluring blend of sonic textures and spoken word' and 'contemplative elegance in the fourth world' is a fitting overview for this reviewer.
What Tim gives us with his debut album is a very high quality mix of instrumental and spoken word tunes aimed at that part of ourselves that a lot of us may not visit on a regular basis, and so it is on this level that the music needs to be heard and understood, if it is to be assessed accordingly. So, after many contemplative listens, I have arrived with conclusions that are all my own.
When listening to this style of music, which ranges from direct spoken word, ambient new age, meditative soul, and maybe even soft pop, you need to let go and give your undivided attention. Every note counts and every word counts, even if you can't understand the various languages with your conscious mind. There are myriad sounds that come at you, in layers, which challenge the way you listen to music. Experimental, synthesizer driven sounds blending to the point of obsession and even distraction. Again, don't try to think about it, it just won't work. Each listen got easier, and for a somewhat demanding and impatient listener, I was thankful when I was able to just let the music happen and hear if for what it was to me - interesting, different, lush in it's sound, yet a little abrasive in it's overall tone.
What I miss most within Tim's style is an inherent pulse, whatever the pace - the pulse that all life exudes, and which to me is elemental in making a connection between muic-maker and listener. It's not always lacking, but when it is, it really is, and at times it simply didn't jive with any of my natural rhythms. Case in point, the backbeat on track 3, 'Wheel', annoyed me more than it lured me or lulled me. That led me to wonder about the title 'being to being' and how accessible music with an unobvious pulse will be to a broad spectrum of society? (if that's even a desired goal). To me, the most obvious tracks for this purpose are the 3 'Bowl of Light' tracks due to their simplicity, softness and lack of a 'forced' pulse.
The other tracks all had their moments, and the spoken word pieces in various languages (Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese, Greek and English) all held their charm and fascination from the sheer beauty of the language.
Interestingly, the English spoken piece grabbed my attention as much as anything on the CD - perhaps showing my own level of conscious awakening or unawakening as it were. It was a slight relief to be listening to something I could recognize and interpret as I knew how. And, as with the rest of the CD, I didn't always like what I heard, but was willing to listen, and agree to disagree, as I knew it was there for a good reason. I give Tim that obvious credit - that he is conscious of what he's into.
And that pretty much sums of my overall assessment, actually - a good listen for the discerning listener looking to be challenged, uplifted and otherwise engaged aurally for the better part of an hour.
I recommend it to anyone listening 'outside the box' who is up for something very well done, if a bit out of the ordinary.
I have ideas on what I'd love to hear Tim do with his obvious amazing talent and ear for the future of music, but I think I'd still rather hear what's next from the man himself - and apparently that should be soon.
Contact: Tim Gerwing
Website: Being to Being Website
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