Boomkat Product Review:
‘Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku’ is the stunning, second major Catherine Christer Hennix work to appear on vinyl via NYC’s Blank Forms Editions and Empty Editions following ‘Selected Early Keyboard Works’ - one of 2018’s certified albums of the year. Let's just say that this one hits even harder. Read on.
Proceeding to fill crucial gaps in Hennix’s 60 year (and counting) ouevre, her 1976 recording with The Deontic Miracle (a trio with her brother Peter Hennix, and Hans Isgren, whom she described as “the most rejected band ever formed in Sweden”) presents utterly compelling tracts from a mind-blowing 90 minute exploration of the Just Intonation tunings that have fascinated Hennix since her late ‘60s studies with La Monte Young and Henry Flynt.
Just Intonation, on a technical level, operates in contrast to the equal temperament tunings most common to the familiar harmonics of western music. On another level, Just Intonation is deeply, deeply f*cking weird and subversive, working with its own laws of visceral dissonance and harmonic relationships that rarely fails to result in anything less than a life-affirming or even cathartic experience when applied by Hennix and her band. Honestly some of the most memorable and unshakeable moments of our listening lives can be attributed to this system, and almost everything else pales in significance after it’s been properly experienced. It’s no less revelatory than formative acid trips, and it boggles the mind that so much so-called “psychedelic” music doesn’t even come close to the effect of Hennix’s recordings.
Rigorously working within this mathematically sound and ancient system, with Catherine on Amplified Renaissance Oboe, Live Electronics and Sine Wave Generators, her brother Peter on Amplified Renaissance Oboe and Amplified Sarangi, and Hans Isgren on Amplified Sarangi, there’s an unparalleled aggression and intensity to the trio’s playing in ‘Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku’ that was previously found on their ‘Central Palace Music’ CD of the same sessions for Important in 2016, and also more stripped down in Catherine’s incredible ‘Selected Early Keyboard Works’.
This is not psychedelic music for braiding daisies or growing your hair to. It’s psychedelic in an atavistic, frightening and metaphysical way, ripping down the curtains of melody and meter from the sound stage to reveal surrealistic, pineal panoramas of a sort rarely seen by humankind, and then holds your view like the Ludovico technique apparatus applied to Malcolm McDowell’s character in A Clockwork Orange. And similarly, the music can be heard as a conditioning against the strictures of classical music, prizing open its form and highlighting all the dark energy and negative ecstasy that haunts the harmonic spectrum, yet which sadly remains invisible to the naked ear in most western musics.
If ever there was a music that makes you want to f*ck, fight, drop mescaline, or most simply to feel sensations you’ve never come across before and really can’t properly explain, this is it. Not to push it out too much, but the resurfacing of Hennix’s recordings over the past decade feel prophetically profound in these times; where too much music retreads old ground, this shit feels like a message from aliens or previous civilisations bitchslapping our ears and crying out for us all to listen and perceive sound, and the world, differently.