Imagine being a kid in 2010 and finding yourself on a trip to the famous New Orleans Museum of Art. You pass by the Rodin sculpture on the grand marble stairway and the vaults of ancient Japanese pottery on the third floor; you breeze through the French impressionists, the Faberge collection, the Joseph Cornell and the Warhols in the modern wing. Then suddenly you pass through a soundproof glass door into a room with a crazed looking person wearing headphones, banging on an organ and screaming into an old microphone. Is this an exhibit? The cacophonous display is indeed behind a velvet rope with a sign cautioning us not to speak to the screaming man. Why do portraits of sexy ladies cover every inch these solemn white walls? What the @#!& is going on here?
Witness the recording of the latest Quintron album, Sucre du Sauvage (“Sugar of the Savage”). From January 29th through May 2nd of 2010, Quintron punched a time clock and reported to work at NOMA to write and record this album in a public gallery space. During the final seven days of the session, the artist imprisoned himself within the museum and its surrounding grounds—a beautiful swampy nature preserve called New Orleans City Park. He roamed the park by night making field recordings and then weaved them into the final mixes of the album by day. The week concluded with a blindfolded listening party in the NOMA auditorium (see album cover).
Part one of this severely schizophrenic dual album is Quintron with far wider instrumentation than usual. Tympani, vibraphone, whistling and tape loops join the ranks of drum machine and electric organ. There is also a noticeable increase in the number of chords used per song compared to previous Quintron albums—like from one chord to maybe more than one chord. There are also two dreamy Miss Pussycat tunes entitled “Banana Beat” and “Spirit Hair.” Noise and field recordings creep into this first half of Sucre du Sauvage. In part two, these elements win the battle as music and structure completely surrender to disparate sounds running wild. Electronic and acoustic instruments blur together with ducks, insects, birds, water and even museum elevators until they all become brutal hypnotic madness.
The NOMA sessions yielded literally thousands of hours of tape. This album is the cream of that crop—the Sucre du Sauvage. No post-production or overdubs were done. When the exhibit closed, the work was finished. It is what it is, and it probably ain’t happening again any time soon. (Goner)