Birds + Machines by Gen Ken Montgomery
Gen Ken Montgomery's sound worlds are full of activity. Not in the sense of sinuous melodies and chord progressions that try to set flea-hopping records. The sounds conjure up images and atmospheres of workshops where people busy themselves with assembling and repairing a variety of contraptions. Places where humans and tools intermingle, where technology (both hi and lo) appears as a trusted and respectedcompanion. It is as much accepted as an integral part of the human sphere as a dog or a cat might be - and it sounds equally homely.
That is not to say that all sounds you'll hear in his music are commonplace, mundane. Many of them are immediately recognizable. Many of them can be traced to their source, even through dense veils of modification. Some derive clearly from instruments, some from birds. But many are absolutely singular, there's no telling what produced them. And to tell you the truth (my truth): it doesn't really matter. Regardless what sounds or sources form the components of this music (everyday or extraordinary objects; musical
instruments or electronic tools; his own voice or environmental recordings), what is important is the mind that processes them and welds them together into the independent entities that we call songs.
It is evidently an open mind that enjoys toying with sounds. His music sounds as if he works with what he finds. Obviously he has prepared materials to be used. But the way he puts everything together makes the impression of someone following his judgment of the situation on the spot. These are not guided tours, mapped out beforehand. These songs are explorations. Trips into an unknown. They aren't, however, excursions done in seclusion. Everywhere he goes Ken Montgomery creates a buzz. He creates a sphere of sound around him that feels humane, sociable. A warm cloud of sonic strangeness. But a loud cloud, too, mind you.