Experimenting With Household Chemicals' is a 1995 album by the laregly elusive post-minimalist Downtown experimenter Peter Zummo. Whilst possibly best known for his work on classic Arthur Russell recordings, he's been a mainstay of New York's vaunted experimental scene since the the mid-late '70s, but only released three solo albums proper. This is his 2nd, exploring "a trombone-specific method for generating melodic movement, as well as a collection of related, "spinoff" melodic material for ensemble."
It's a beautifully loose and democratic brace of compositions, free-grooving and charmingly unique pieces of flighty, conversational avant-garde which rarely become too challenging and never obtuse, finding the balance between rooted, rolling and jazz-wise groove and unusual, engrossing expression.
Experimenting With Household Chemicals explores a trombone-specific method for generating melodic movement, as well as a collection of related, "spinoff" melodic material for ensemble. This method is a new way of seeing and combining slide and lip movements, so that performance can precisely follow well-defined mental diagrams while generating unexpected melodic material not conditioned by other, more common musical habits.
Where many composers are opting for declarative sentences, hyperbole, and non sequiturs, Zummo's statements are full of witty asides and sly implications; he might mean what he seems to be saying, but you can't be sure
"Zummo's music evokes Minimalism that's just getting up in the morning, still rubbing its eyes; the hard, rational edges and crisp patterns haven't yet come into focus. But while the music sounds relaxed, it also shows a calm, self-effacing intelligence."