Petty has a story to tell. His is a visionary concept, utilizing music as a means for communicating a tale. One of extra-terrestrials, warfare, and the genetic engineering of humans. Welcome to Alalu.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, electronic musician Petty has created a five part epic story, utilizing ambient drone music to tell the tale. The result is highly intriguing, soundscapes that weave an epic, utilizing pure sounds in a most effective manner.
Though I have only listened to the myspace versions for part one, I get the sense that in terms of scope and vision that there is something Wagnerian about the whole thing. This is a five part music drama, although in this case the drama is conveyed only through the music, there being no visual component or lyrics, at least that I know of.
And what of the music itself? Dense with sonic information, the sounds produced have a highly mathematical quality. There is a high degree of logic involved in the arrangement. Sounds swirl and coalesce, conveying imagery in a deeply psychological manner. There is a type of contrapuntal texture that is unique to electronic music. The structural aspects it seems to support are not strictly "classical" in nature, because this sounds nothing like Haydn or Mozart. I have always felt that musicians in this vein have found some new way of communicating linearity, a type of horizontal thinking that allows for the ebb and flow of the music. The overall texture has the quality of a hurricane to it, with seeming chaos happening around a stable center.
During the course of my interview, I was given to understand that Petty's involvement with music making started purely from self-interest. He went a music store and bought a drum machine and a keyboard, on which he undertook a course of self-instruction. After moving back to Dallis from Austin he enrolled at a local conservatory after receiving a scholarship. There he studied for about six months.
I have this to say. This man is a quick study. As I said before, his music is tightly organized. These are not the sounds of a dilettante, but of someone expressing a fully developed aesthetic. I assume that he took his studies seriously.
This man has a wide range of influences, ranging from Greek mathematician composer Iannis Xenakis to minimalist pioneer Terry Riley and eclectic free-jazz musician Sun Ra, from British acid-damaged electronic pioneers Coil to California doom/drone rockers Sunn))0. Of particular interest are the Residents. I was informed that after seeing them live, Petty was inspired to create a multi-part work. The end result, while definitely containing the essence of those musicians and many more, is nonetheless its' own creation. Petty has his own voice, and is communicating this highly intriguing tale masterfully.
Being that this is a review of an electronic musicians work, some mention must be made of the equipment utilized. He is a big fan of Korg, utilizing the electribe mx and sx samplers, a micro korg synth and a mini-triton. His recording software is cubase and native instruments vst plugin. Also, all music made was produced "during blunt induced recording sessions in my attic."
And what exactly is the story? Tune in to find out. Aside from his myspace page, of which the tracks there are only there, he has released two full-length e.p.'s contaning other tracks that tell the tale in greater depth. The first, on Okkulth records (http://www.archive.org/details/okk059alalu), is entitled "Alalu-Lost Tracks Vol.1". Okkulth's homepage is http://okkulth.svartgalgh.nl/. The second, on Australia's Smell The Stench http://www.smellthestench.net/net.ht ), is entitled "Zumul-Nephilim." There are also a limited number of handmade cds available for sale or trade. Contact Alalu's myspace page for more information.
check 'em out at www.myspace.com/alalui