Golden Hornet Project
Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Oct. 25, 2002
Golden Hornet ProjectCD-R Series Austin's Golden Hornet Project is actually a hybrid of other groups, namely Graham Reynolds from the Golden Arm Trio and Peter Stopschinski of Brown Whörnet. Hybrid is an excellent concept given that GHP has one foot in the halls of classical music and another firmly planted at the bar in a nightclub. Instrumental choices are eclectic too: fuzzed clarinet or timpani, a piano paired with a full drum kit, and guitars -- sampled. Clearly diversity isn't a problem, and with the whopping 20-CD CD-R Series, GHP doesn't have an issue with output either. Titles fit roughly into four non-stylistic boxes: soundtracks (Faust, Requiem For Tesla, Silent Circle), live recordings (Tosca String Quartet at Hyde Park Theatre), Western classical compositions (First Symphonies, The Concertos, PMS Works), and special pieces (Mom's Christmas, Out of the Nursery, Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives). Works can be obtained together in an annotated binder or ordered à la carte. Listeners can also create their own album from additional recordings via the band's "Choose Your Own Adventure" Web site, www.goldenhornetproject.com. This isn't to say, however, that each title carries equal weight. Being an audience recording, Brown Whörnet's SXSW 2002, Live at Elysium doesn't particularly sparkle, although it does accurately portray the band live: unpredictable, tight as hell, naughty, self-indulgent, and expertly gifted. Another live outing, Golden Arm Live at Emo's, is exactly as the title promises: crowd conversations seguing into a Rachmaninoff-like piano overture, later followed by inspired jazz-speckled jams, and finally, themes from a vaudevillian nightmare. The studio recordings may be of higher fidelity, but some, like the pure noise Herr Meyer, are more challenging to hear. Most, however, are simply excellent. One acme is Silent Circle, GHP's original live musical accompaniment to a work by Ariel Dance Theatre, complete with Cheryl Parish's operatic soprano. If there were any justice in the world, "Movement 1" from The First Symphonies would find a high-rotation home on local classical radio frequency KMFA, not coincidentally the station where Reynolds and Stopschinski host a program called "Classical Crossover." The same could be said of their first concert, The Tosca String Quartet, Live at the Hyde Park Theatre, which in hindsight proves to be quite the prescient portent of the duo's skill. No question this music requires an involved listener, but appreciation of the works here only grows over time. If music is the art of sound expression, GHP is quite simply among Austin's best.