This is a truly fascinating bit of music: Angil and Hiddntracks, during a post-gig discussion, thought about writing a bunch of songs for almost only woodwinds for want of focusing on that woodwind sound, also stipulating that all songs should avoid a grouping of chords particularly difficult for alto saxophonists to play. Angil runs with this–going two jumps out (changing (for this album only?) to “Angil,” and his supporting band to “Hiddn Tracks”), and shying from (mostly, ignoring his (frankly, sad) slipping on six or so grammatically-hard-to-avoid words) lyrics in violation of his organizing standards. So, this fun, this passing thought, quickly turns into a spry OuLiPo constraint, involving gaming both musical and linguistic. Lastly, as if this wouldn’t satisfy his compulsion to play, Angil bought a piano from a closing clothing shop (a liquidation) and, thinking that tuning it would probably ruin his fun, built all his songs on and around this bizarro-carnival thing (though his piano is commonly (and annoyingly) said to ring out with a “Tim Burton” sound), his band following suit, strictly and assiduously avoiding all violations.
So, in summary: a skillful dodging of constraint violations both musically and lyrically. Additional constraint and difficulty coming with his thrift shop bizarro-piano. A fascinating album, AND, might I add, a joy to own. Dazzling. A charming work of art with a sound of its own. Music for sad birds, an aviary symphony.
Worth looking into, I would say.
Angil and Hiddntracks – Oulipo Saliva