Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Dutch composer Jacob TV writes brilliant original music based around the sounds of human voices. On the album Pitch Black, performed by the all-sax Prism Quartet, samples of interviews with jazz giants Chet Baker and Billie Holiday, an angry street preacher, an 18 month old girl, and an actor reading a Blake poem all help to create energetic, tuneful, Steve Reich-ian music, inspired by jazz, rock, and hip-hop as much as by Minimalism.

He doesn't just drop samples over the music willy-nilly, but rather writes melodies around the contours of the human speaking voice, reminiscent of
Scott Johnson, or (again) Reich works such as "Different Trains."

But I was especially excited to see that he sampled "Scared Straight." Hell, yeah! Anyone else remember that show? Real incarcerated criminals screaming at wayward kids about the harsh realities of prison life. Swearing on TV! And our mothers let us, wanted us to watch it.

Jacob TV/Prism Quartet: "
Grab It! (excerpt)"

The only non-sample based work is a somber, moving, anti-war elegy. Top-notch stuff, all around.