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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde

DONALD KNAACK

By Paul Emile-Comeau

Junk Music 2
Moo

Donald Knaack, also known as The Junkman, is a Vermont-based composer who promotes recycling and better environmental citizenry. The title of his "ecobeat" compositions reflect his concern for our infatuation with packaging and planned obsolescence and question our insouciant attitude towards waste. Knaack's first junk album in 1996 was quite remarkable and Junk Music 2 is a worthy follow-up. All the music is performed on over 600 pieces of junk and recycled materials. The titles hint at the sound: "Styrofoam Never Dies," "Built to Fall Apart," "The Bushes Don't protect Trees," and "Beat the Can." The last track, one called "Surfer at the River Styx," was commissioned for Twyla Tharp and is an ambitious six-part composition that lasts nearly half an hour. Instrumentation is listed for each track, and includes such things as aluminum pie pans, pvc pipes, paint stirrers, metal candy box with rice inside, metal milk pitchers, saw blades, dripping water, and much more. The Washington Post has called Knaack "the Max Roach of the dumpster." Anyone with a yen for the unusual shouldn't hesitate to dive in.