All Music Guide Review: Dust

Three years after Quake, Chris Cutler and Thomas Dimuzio came back with a second serving of confusing electrified percussion and sampling. If anything, this album goes even further in blurring distinctions between the two protagonists' contributions, between acoustic and electronic, between real-time performance and post-production. Dust consists of two highly demanding 20-minute pieces that have been over-subdivides in pure Cutler fashion. “Requiem" is pure live action from a concert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, late 2000. Dimuzio uses samples of an elemental/drone nature (wind, growling tectonic sounds), plus he samples and processes the sounds produced by the percussionist, himself playing his trademark electric drums (a drum kit equipped with microphones routed through effects and a mixer). The resulting music is a captivating chunk of maximalist electroacoustics, filled with unheard sounds and textures — Cutler's Solo CD with an extra layer of interaction. The origins of “Universal Decoding Machine" are found in a French studio on July 21, 2002. Using a similar set-up, Cutler and Dimuzio improvised while EM Thomas walked in and outside the studio wearing a binaural microphone set. His (her?) input was transmitted to engineer Bob Drake who processed and fed it back to the musicians through loudspeakers. Later, Dimuzio added overdubs, shaped and remixed the whole piece into its final form. It feels less spontaneous, much closer to electroacoustic composition, with an episode of noisy techno thrown in to destabilize the listener (and it works). Dimuzio is known for the depth of his sonic assemblages and Dust makes no exception. After going through this album, if you feel 41 minutes is too short a duration, maybe you need to listen again and pay closer attention. (4 stars) —François Couture