The doorbell signals the arrival of someone or something, good or bad news, friend or salesperson, package or bill. Obviously the doorbell is not sentinent, but it’s sound in responded to so quickly that it seemingly takes on a life of its own: welcomed or unwelcomed. Our interpretation of this small electronic sound is now reworked by Jeff Kolar on his Doorbell release. Part of a permanent exhibition at the Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, Kolar spent two weeks exploring the sounds of the museum’s vintage Yamaha organ. Kolar then created twelve tracks of sounds which he incorportated with a reconstructed doorbell system that museum vistors can play.
Of Kolar’s three solo releases this past year, Smoke Detector, Car Alarms and, now, Doorbell, the latter is probably his most accessible work. These tracks are bursts of 20 seconds, but usuallly are not comprised of one sound, rather they are built on a duality of organ sounds that are in opposition or accord to each other. Using this constructed sonic polarity, Kolar’s work mimics the listener’s response to our own doorbells.
In social media posts, Kolar has suggested listening to Doorbell on repeated or random loops. While writing this review that’s exactly what I did, building a huge playlist of the four-minute album and then shuffling it so that some tracks repeated after each other, other sounds became familiar, and some seemed fresh or new. For the track I include with my reviews, I decided to randomly select twelve tracks and put them together as one four-minute track to illustrate what I have been listening to and, maybe, using Kolar’s guidenance, demonstrate the preferable way to experience his work.