For this album by Mike Olson, I want to do something unusual in a music review - put in a spoiler alert. When I finally got round to listening to this, I hadn't read the liner notes or PR material. It struck me as a complex ensemble work - horns, woodwind, drums, guitars, vocals, keyboards, strings - which slithered and moved around. Then I read how it had been made, and it revealed a whole new perspective - what had already impressed now amazed. Because the whole work (45 minutes) is an assemblage. Each musician was recorded separately, playing a score (verbal and graphic gestures), and Olson cut, selected, manipulated, layered and combined these pieces to form the 6 Incidental tracks. The method reminded me of John Wall, but the outcome is quite different. rather than the minimal pieces Wall works with, Olson has taken full units and combined them. It is a seamless construction and the knowledge was a little like the reformatting of the your understanding the whole that comes at the end of a movie like Sixth Sense or The Others.
And while sometimes method trumps outcome, in this case the outcome is well ahead. Olson called the music as Incidental as it reminds him of that form - 'written to reinforce visual activity ... the music sounds like action to me'. You could also say it is composed from incidents which have been brought together.