Not exactly a household name is H. K. Gruber, but please don't let that put you off (as if...).
I first encountered this 'piece' many years ago, encouraged to listen by one of those 'this'll really blow your mind' types.
I must admit he came close; but there was a little extra added assistance to my appreciation; which has always made me wonder as to how weird it really was.
So I was well-chuffed recently as BBC's Radio 3 broadcast the 'piece' live; narrated and performed by Gruber himself.
Now I could find out whether my tripped-out perception of the 'piece' was for real or merely reliant upon accessories.
Frankenstein!! (1978) is the Austrian composer's 'Pandemonium', his own little monster mash-up in sound; and it lives: 'IT'S ALIVE!'.
All manner of creatures, and their creators, are conjured up, many instantly recognizable, all of them in their own way diabolical: all of them monsters.
The narrative is created by Gruber's spitting out, in a most sinister, and slightly lascivious manner, mutant styled nursery rhymes, which I must say seem to have the touch of ergot running through them; something dark; otherworldly; like Grimm's Tales: somehow of the forest; primeval; frightening.
As well as the narration Gruber plays double bass, all manner of percussion and bizarre instruments: his favourite being children's versions of instruments; although he plays a wonderful solo on what I think is a comb and paper, although it could be a carefully constrained kazoo.
But watch out for all manner of whistles, shouts, explosions, bangs, cracks and pops; accompanied throughout by a full orchestrated score; supplied in this instant perfectly by the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Chamber Choir.
So think 200 Motels x4.
Kurt Weill on acid.
And you're somewhere in the right area.
It's a hodge-podge, a musical cut-up, surreal, macabre, alternative, funny, surprising and challenging; but challenging only in the way that it doesn't necessarily conform to our expectations of what a 'piece of music' should be.
In fact, if it's allowed to merely be, it's incredibly entertaining.
It's not for everyone.
But I've never watched The Sound of Music.
And you know what.
I have no fucking intention to.
H. K. Gruber - Frankenstein!!
Performed by H.K. Gruber ('Nali'): voice, double bass, percussion and various sound making implements and paraphernalia,
The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra,
& The Manchester Chamber Choir.
Recorded at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 22/10/10.
Immaculate Rip from DVD captured digital broadcast @320kbs.
30 minutes, includes info.
Give life to the creature here
I have included Radio 3's intro and outro to the performance; they're very informative and do create a sense of meaning, some anchorage in which to hang on to while you're trying to make sense of the piece.
But I do encourage you to take the plunge.
See what you make of it.
Listen to the intro and outro afterwards; compare notes, so to speak....
Anyway, hope you enjoy.
And if you're at all hesitant... go for it: after all, what's five minutes of bandwidth?
And hey. Listen with the lights out...