Saturday, November 12, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Music of Pairs

Rene Lussier/Martin Tetreault: Dur Noyau Dur. 1997. Ambiances Magnetiques Etcetera: AM 057 CD.

Rene Lussier: acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Martin Tetreault: turntables, pick-up, radio

Lussier and Tetreault work with the raw materials of electricity and sound. Placing the listener at the unusual position of being extremely close to the point where the needle meets the vinyl, where the fingertips scrape guitar strings or at the exact position where electricity is converted into bursts of noise and sound. Dur Noyau Dur does retain fleeting moments of Rene Lussier's fantastical flights. But they are less geared toward sliding references toward other musics and more contained within the moment of these brief improvisations. The focus turned toward the energy and other-wordly atmosphere of these sonic materials. It's an uncompromising record that demands a great deal from the listener. With the result of taking the attentive ears into deeply unfamiliar territories.

24 Preludes In Quarter-Tone System by Ivan Wyschnegradsky (excerpts)

Three Quarter-Tone Pieces For Two Pianos by Charles Ives

Etude sur le "Carre Magique Sonore" op. 40 by Ivan Wyschnegradsky

The Russian mystic and the iconic American maverick composer are performed together under the shared distinction of having written piano music featuring the interval of the twenty-fourth-root of two. The interval that divides the semitone in half to form the quarter-tone. Beyond the timbre of the piano and the doubling of harmonic resources these two composers are strikingly different. Ivan Wyschnegradsky's quarter-tone piano pieces sound like something Scriabin might have explored had he gone down this particular harmonic path. While Charles Ives retains the balance of awe and Americana that makes him one of the great composers of any era. Hearing the multiple worlds and melodic references of Ives run through the twin blades of his relentlessly creative energy and the 24-tone equal temperament makes this collection more than worth hearing. One can only imagine what these two composers might have done if they had access to better technology for realizing even more inventive harmonic constructions.

Daniel Levin: cello
Tim Daisy: percussion

Daniel Levin and Tim Daisy each work within an expansive sensibility respective to their instruments. Ready to switch up the timbral qualities of the moment in a manner that balances the reactive and the pro-active aspects of duo improvisation. Daisy's drumming takes on a particular urgency in this set as he alludes to, plays within or provides a parallel sense of time with plenty of fractured subdivisions of the organic pulse at hand. Daniel Levin's cello work takes this temporal material and stitches in his own contribution into the overall texture. The ears can almost sense the elasticity of this musical fabric as these master improvisers apply their push and pull to the elusive instant when they create this sound. There are many great duo recordings that feature great musicians at work such as this one. But this disc comes highly recommended as one of the more relentlessly listenable sets you're likely to find.

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