Jorge Boehringer knows what he wants. Armed with a viola, a guitar, a piano, a crapload of effects pedals, and some horrific noisemaking devices, Boehringer confidently and comfortably delivers a varied, engaging, and wholly original CDR, ?Spirograph/ End Grain?.
At times, this release is pure ecstatic electronic hiss and fuzz, droning through oscillations and waves of cold tone; at others, the gentle lull of the piano and lazy roll of his voice ease through a landscape of strummed guitar and melancholy viola.
That Boehringer is able to cover so much ground and still manage to remain cohesive is a testament to his ability and his confidence as a musician as well as a songwriter. The challenge of the more inorganic electronics never takes overt control of the work, and it also would be too easy to simply pack this away as another outsider on the fringes of American folk music.
As a complete work, the effect is very intimate and inviting. Nothing that goes on here is threatening in any way to me, because although much of the electronic material is often rather atonal in nature, it never ventures into noise for the sake of noise. There is too much control of the language here to allow that to happen.
If you get the chance to hunt down some photos of him performing live, you can see Boehringer in all his masked glory. He tends to wear large, furry animal masks over his head while playing the viola, from what I?ve seen. I suppose it could be seen as goofy, but in the photos anyway, I think it does a good job of giving Boehringer the distance he must undoubtedly need between himself and his audience, so he can be able to produce such idiosyncratic work without lingering in his mind on the effect of being watched while he performs. It does seem to give an air of needed solitude, though I may simply be reading too much into it. Either way, the masks work for me as a performance effect, or perhaps even better, affectation.
?Spirograph/ End Grain? is a great effort that will most likely be much too small a release to garner too much attention, but it deserves as much as it gets and then some.
If you wish to check out Core of the Coal Man on the web, I would go to his My Space page here: www.myspace.com/coreoggthecoalman
, (and yes, those are g?s). 7/10 -- John Cramer (27 June, 2006)