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Oven Mitt Johnson




What people are saying about the Sursiks:

For entertainment value alone, this album is worth mentioning. It's one of those novelty albums you need to play at a party to impress your friends, new and old. But that's not where this album ends- not even close. The concept of taking answering machine messages and turning them into music is only the first level of playful ingenuity in "I Didn't Know I Was Singing." Beyond that idea kernel, The Sursiks play with and tweak each message in a unique way, whether by breaking them down rhythmically or melodically or inferring genre styles and emotional qualities as diverse as hip hop rock to folk to jazz to funky R&B. Each message-turned-song is so cleverly woven that it brings to mind the notable contemporary classical composer, Steve Reich, and his work "Different Trains" which beautifully demonstrates the great musical potential of human speech. The Sursiks, with a similar end in sight, give us yet another way to appreciate this phenomenon with humor and fun.


The musicality of human speech has been a point of interest for a number of composers, among them Schoenberg, Partch, and Janáček, but the craft of building compositions around carefully notated spoken word recordings remains ripe for exploration. Scott Johnson pioneered the technique with John Somebody, Steve Reich popularized it with Different Trains, and René Lussier arguably perfected it on Le trésor de la langue. The Sursiks' application of this compositional method, I Didn’t Know I Was Singing, replicates the precision of its predecessors while adding a new and welcome ingredient to the mix: lowbrow humor. (read the full review)

- Brad Glanden, All About Jazz


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