Sunday, November 02, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Three Sides of Structural Form

Udo Kasemets: Pythagoras Tree: Works for Piano. 1998. Hat Hut: hat[now]ART 113.

Stephen Clarke: piano

Timepiece (1964) version 1
Tangovariables on the word TANGO (1986)
Timepiece (1964) version 2
3/7 D'un Morceau en Forme de Poire (1995)
Feigenbaum Cascades (1995)
Pythagoras Tree (1994)
Music of the First Eleven Primes (1995)

Piano music as constructions. There's a meditative underpinning to this music that treats its sounding parts as formal elements in the service of sonic architecture. The gentle, unhurried unfolding of procedure inspires an admiration similar to viewing the stately arches of large scale constructions. Here it is the lonely piano expressing taut lines and ideas that extend toward vanishing points.

Elliott Sharp: Quadrature: Solo Electoacoustic Guitar. 2005. zOaR Portal Series: ZPO-01.

Elliott Sharp: guitars, electronics

If Elliott Sharp were any less prolific or less well documented over a myriad of small and DIY labels it would be simply impossible to comprehend how multi-faceted his ideas and musical output is. Quadrature presents the ears with his solo guitar work when live electronics come into play. Which is an entirely different sound from his solo acoustic playing. Yet all of these different sides clearly sprawl outward from the same mind. The restless manipulation of timbre. A textural landscape with plenty of sharp edges. The techniques found in Sharp's solo acoustic work and blues guitar find their way into the fabric of Quadrature. Many of his signature gestures come into play - leaving the strong stamp of Sharp's improvisative authorship. This may be his best, and most representative solo recording yet.

Iannis Xenakis: Orchestral Works - volume 1. 2000. Timpani: 1C1057.

Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
Arturo Tamayo: conductor
featuring -
Spyros Sakkas: baritone voice
Beatrice Daudin: percussion

Ais (1980)
Tracees (1987)
Empreintes (1975)
Noomena (1974)
Roai (1991)

When considering what kind of din a large orchestra is capable of making this is exactly the kind of music these ears hope for. Imposing shards of dissonance that sweep through an intoxicating range of orchestral timbre. Ais - a setting of two fragments from Homer's Odyssey - is easily the knockout piece of this collection. The extended vocal technique scored for baritone voice weaves against the solo percussionist and large ensemble that puts Xenakis' masterful sense of balance between individual and large ensemble into sharp focus. The slabs of noise and constantly moving gestures fit into nice slabs of architectural intent that leaves an audible trace of form behind this music.

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