WTF?! Wednesdays: Cameron Carpenter, “Revolutionary Etude” (2008)

The usual deal here is that I find and write about some music that can push people over the edge or even better, make them advance the argument that it’s not really music at all. But this week I stumbled onto an artist who’s already made a lot of people say “WTF?!!” And that would be pipe organist Cameron Carpenter.

I saw a promo video called “Birth of the International Touring Organ,” and it sort of knocked me out. Here’s a guy with insanely great technique, vision, and style. It seems like a lot of purists hate him. I’m no expert on the pipe organ, nor am I generally moved by technique alone (the guitar world is already overflowing with that kind of thing), but it’s obvious to me that Carpenter has an interesting future ahead of him.

The first video has Carpenter doing “Revolutionary Etude,” his take on Chopin’s Ètude, Op. 10, No. 12 in C Minor. I mean, the pedal work alone is just jaw-dropping.

Then comes the touring organ promotional video. Carpenter kind of looks like Johnny Depp’s slightly unhinged younger brother. Between that, the clothing and the swanky shoes, I can see how he manages to piss off the purists. Good for him.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B001DDBCWI” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001GDWD0A” container=”B00136LTXM” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.