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Core of the Coalman - Box of the Last Help

  by Jon Rogers

published: 15 / 12 / 2010

Core of the Coalman - Box of the Last Help
Label: Zum
Format: CD


Formulaic and uninspired minimalism on latest album from Coal of the Coalman, the project of Prague-based composer Jorge Boehringer

Brian Eno once summarised minimalism as “a drift away from narrative and towards landscape, from performed event to sonic space.” And that seems as good a definition as any. Taking their cue from the likes of Stockhausen’s groundbreaking works ‘Gesang der Jünglinge’ and ‘Kontakte’, the US composers in the aftermath of World War II, stripped away harmonic tonality in favour of a steady pulse, invariably using a short musical phrase or theme and then stretching that out. The likes of Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich, as well as Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell and Morton Feldman all dabbled in this new musical expression. Core of the Coalman’s, a.k.a. Jorge Boehringer, ‘Box of Last Help’ is very much in that tradition, mainly taking inspiration from Reich’s early works like ‘It’s Gonna Rain’, it is, as Reich described, “music as a gradual process”. ‘Box of Last Help’ effectively consists of just two tracks, ‘Inertia’ and ‘Last Help’ and could very well have come out over 40 years ago. Thing is Core of the Coalman just mines from the past, excavating stuff from the past instead of digging his own path. And he doesn’t even do that so well. Whereas composers like Reich and Riley made the tonal changes appear seemless and effortless, Boehringer is just clumsy and hamfisted. The difference between making an effortless gear change while driving compared to a clunking, grating change. At times on ‘Inertia’ the linear development is rather rudimentary, obvious and as subtle as a brick. Compare that to something like Glass’ ‘600 Lines’ where the fluid movement just ebbs and flows. Core of the Coalman has clearly pilfered from the past, but he can’t even copy properly. There’s really nothing on ‘Box of Last Help’ that offers anything new or different or anything that hasn’t been done before.

Track Listing:-
1 Inertia II
2 Inertia I
3 Last Help (Prelude)
4 Last Help

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