|Comments:||CD-ROM with tracks playable on audio cd player|
Review by Jan Hanford:
The Great Kat (Katherine Thomas) is a Juilliard-trained violinist turned metal guitarist. She abandoned classical music because, "The classical music scene isn't boring, it's dead." Well, I'm sure many of us don't agree, but she has created this cd-rom to bring classical music into the 21st century; interpreting it in the style of contemporary heavy-metal musicians. Not to be laughed at, many of these guitarists are serious musicians with serious skills. Some of the playing is astonishing and wonderful. The debate whether classical music is dead and needs to be reborn in heavy metal is best made elsewhere. This cd-rom is a subject all its own. It's a mixed bag of genius, humor, and confusion. The majority of the graphics are very beautiful but too many belong in a Stephen King comic book. The sound is excellent and there is tons to look at and do on this disc. My only real complaint is that the interface is often confusing: you don't know what to click on or if you're supposed to click on anything, so it's hard to navigate sometimes. But once you're in it's great!
The style is "Monty Python meets Clive Barker." Her sense of humour is a cutting wit, based on loud self-congratulation ("I am a genius and you are an idiot!") or insults ("You are a moron, die!"). It's hysterical, I laughed a lot. The "Musical IQ Test" was especially interesting and fun; apparently I am either "a genius like me!" or "a moron and should die, now!" There is a gallery of the musical periods from Baroque to Modern, with portraits, biographies, music and a personal rant by Ms. Kat. She particularly loves Bach, which I was glad to hear since I maintain this web site. Her opinion of Bartok was especially wonderful, "I just don't get it!" Thanks, Kat, I don't either! It is refreshing to see someone willing to say what she really thinks, not just butter someone's bread. She's sort of a combination of Howard Stern, a professional wrestler and Paganini.
The cd-rom is filled with many other topics including the "Slave Club" of mail from worshippers of Ms. Kat (skip that part, it's gross and boring), but the other stuff is very good to great: a ride through musical time, a juke box with new Kat tunes, and KAT-TV (she yells a lot; it's very funny) and a section of orchestral instruments, divided by category (woodwinds, etc.), that you can click on to hear each instrument. It's very well done.
I don't know which audience, classical or metal-head, is going to appreciate this project most but as a unique, creative work by a talented, perhaps-a-little-crazy musician, it is impressive and a lot of fun.
You can preview and purchase "Digital Beethoven on Cyberspeed" at The Great Kat's web site: http://www.greatkat.com.