Brekekekexkoaxkoax is an ongoing experimental vehicle for multi-instrumentalist Josh Ronsen's minimalist, improvised music. I manage to get out by a secret door is compiled from six separate sessions recorded between 2002-2006 that find him performing his prepared guitar and various electronics in a solo, duo, trio and quartet configuration.
The first two compositions are strictly improvised, abstract pieces of music that combine Ronsen's plethora of prepared guitar which basically consists of his percussive plunking and scraping along with the odd belch of feedback, with drummer Jason Pierce's almost distant sounding percussion work. These two tracks which clock in at almost twenty and sixteen minutes respectively are long, drawn out collages that don't rely that much on actual musical notes, just sound. The same can certainly be said for the third track "Shoham" which features Ronsen on what amounts to six and a half minutes of electronic drone. Thankfully things start to finally open up a bit sonically by the fourth composition "We ought to have but one single thought" as the unit expands to a trio. With the added instrumentation the tones begin to also feel distinctly warmer as Ronsen and second guitarist Glen Nuckolls provide a thick cocoon of pulsating sound overtop drummer Genevieve Walsh's furious brush strokes. "Art brings a tiny gleam, swamped by garruiousness" is once again a solo foray for more of Ronsen's drawn out electronic textures, which unfortunately kills off some of the momentum built up from the previous track. The disc concludes with "These are mere words, powerless, useless", the only composition recorded in a quartet, and a track that once again works due to the infusion of added instrumentation, which comes by way of the slightly distorted sounding wind instruments such as oboe, flute and clarinet.
I manage to get out by a secret door will certainly prove to be a challenging listening experience especially for people who lean towards more conventional sounding, instrumental music. Inevitably it won't appeal to everyone. As a whole I think the results on I manage to get out by a secret door could have been better, due to the fact that the two solo electronic pieces not only sound out of place here but they don't really have much to offer. The true promise of musical fireworks is only hinted at when Ronsen expands the unit, thus expanding the sonic capabilities of the music as well, unfortunately though this doesn't occur nearly as often as one might hope.
1) Banality may vanish and truth may appear
2) I never saw the end of the fire
4) We ought to have but one single thought
5) Art brings a tiny gleam, swamped by garruiousness
6) These are mere words, powerless, useless