Jack Briece’s name has been, up until this point, barely a footnote in the story of 20th century avant garde and experimental music. Briece, not being one for self promotion, was more content to work on his music in private. His only release, 1984’s “Heterophonious Fool,” was self-produced in an edition of 50 cassettes and was never publicly distributed.
Owing to a deep obsession with all things relating to astronomy and the esoteric, Briece composed “Heterophonious Fool” as a suite in five parts, it’s meter and melody determined by his readings the I Ching. Despite these somewhat lofty inspirations, Briece instilled these pieces with a sense of playfulness, composing the suite for four tracks of the same cheap Casio keyboard, with phased rhythm tracks and catchy, looping minimal melodies floating around the stereo field. One easily gets the sense of a joyfully creative mind at work.
Operating in the same sonic world as contemporaries PAUL DeMARINIS and “BLUE” GENE TYRANNY, Briece managed to merge a more “academic” music with a distinct pop sensibility, all injected with a wide-eyed sense of humor. “Peace,” with it’s shuffling counter-rhythms, brings to mind classic era AUTECHRE, while album closer “Pushup Words and Food” finds Briece in a similar territory to 80s video game soundtrack composers like KEIICHI SUZUKI and JUN CHIKUMA, with it’s bubbling synths and sputtering rhythm track.
Briece sadly died of AIDS related complications in 1988, leaving behind very little evidence of his time as a composer. A somewhat nomadic artist during his life, he was the definition of a “free spirit,” so much so that he avoided treatment for his illness, deciding instead to allow it to run its course.
supported by 12 fans who also own “Heterophonious Fool”
this album is loved so dearly.
reminds me of what i loved about moondog, a vibe that is so seldomly found in music. not to say this is “like moondog” either, bc it is entirely it’s own thing. i listen to this album by accident three times often, before i realize it ended. thank you so much for this. my spirit needed it. js