Fluid Radio http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk Fluid Radio - Experimental Frequencies Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:27:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-1-32x32.png Fluid Radio http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk 32 32 8327152 Jürg Frey – ephemeral constructions http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/jurg-frey-ephemeral-constructions/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/jurg-frey-ephemeral-constructions/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:27:01 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108597

Jürg Frey’s ‘ephemeral constructions’, here performed by the University of South Carolina Experimental Music Workshop under the directorship of Greg Stuart, opens with sparse chinks and taps of untuned percussion. Some sound like dripping water, while others are more wooden or metallic in their timbre. As far as I can tell from the recording, from their reverb tails and placement in different parts of the stereo field, they seem to be spread out across a large room. Then a vibraphone enters with a quiet two-note pattern; gradually, more tuned instruments join in. The unpitched sounds act like precisely-located point sources, whereas the pitched sounds tend to spread out to fill a larger volume of space, even when only one instrument is playing; hence, a kind of dichotomy between peripheral untuned and centrally located tuned instruments is formed.

At first, I heard this as a detachment or separation between the two groups, particularly in contrast with the version of ‘circular music #6’ later on the album where tuned and untuned sounds are much more integrated. But gradually the untuned sounds began to form a sort of environment, intermittent, irregular, and dripping with humidity, for the tuned sounds to sound in. The composer often references architecture when discussing his music, and his stated aim, according to the liner notes, is often to create a space that has both the bare bones of structure and a sense of openness and ephemerality. In this first section I hear the impression of a loose, open-ended architectural form more palpably than usual — a sort of schematic or cutaway that gives a porosity or translucency to the boundaries of the music.

After another long section of just untuned percussion again, the untuned sounds stop and the ensemble in the middle play what seem to me to be typical Frey block chords separated by silence. In the background an untuned winding or spinning sound is sometimes heard. The chords move between consonance and dissonance, openness and closure, light and dark; anyone familiar with Frey’s second and third string quartets will know what to expect here. I sometimes wish that the dripping untuned percussion had continued through this section as well, if only to make it sound a little less like a stereotypical Frey piece; the few untuned sounds that are used alongside the chords aren’t prominent or persistent enough to make much of an impression. Perhaps, however, this would’ve tilted the balance between structure and openness too far towards the former.

‘circular music #7’ is a much shorter piece, again consisting mostly of block chords but this time without pauses between them. Despite its brevity, like most Frey pieces I’ve heard it sounds like it could continue in the same vein indefinitely. Untuned sounds again form the opening of ‘circular music #6’, but this time when the tuned instruments join them they are much more tentative, fragmented, and dispersed, issuing quiet plinks, plonks, and hoots rather than block chords. The result is that pitched and unpitched sounds meld into a single muted thrum of activity. For several minutes a sonorous, almost keening clarinet (played by the composer) seems to lead, but in general there’s no sense of any instrument being more prominent than any other. This gentle blend of diverse textures forms a nice contrast with ‘ephemeral constructions’, showcasing two different and equally intriguing aspects to Frey’s music alongside some sensitive and disciplined playing from the Workshop.

Jürg Frey

Edition Wandelweiser Records

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Raised By Krump http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/raised-by-krump/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/raised-by-krump/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:14:02 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108590

Creative inspiration, or that light-bulb moment when an idea transforms into passion, is often found in the most unexpected places. For filmmaker Maceo Frost, that spark came at a street dance camp in the Czech Republic: during a chance encounter with krumping, a form of dance characterized by rapid, expressive movements, he witnessed the crowd go “from wild to completely speechless.” Capturing this feeling, which he describes as “spiritual goosebumps,” led him across the world to a parking lot in South Central Los Angeles. There he met Marquisa “Miss Prissy” Gardner, one of the founders of the movement, and began the journey of making this week’s Staff Pick Premiere, “Raised By Krump.”

Maceo combines personal interviews and dance with breathtaking style and intimacy for a rare view into the soul that drives the movement. In krump, each gesture is drawn from reaching deep within the dancer’s personal experiences to give physical form to the disappointments and heartbreak of daily life. As Maceo puts it, “the more you feel and release, the more the crowd pushes you. It doesn’t matter at what level you dance. It’s all about pushing each other until you reach that zone where you’re connected to your feelings.” A poignant look at self-expression, the film focuses on the art of dance as a means to express real-life struggles and offer a positive alternative to street violence.

“I think Krump symbolizes every piece of what we went through growing up in our neighborhoods,” says Miss Prissy, “from being chased by gangbangers to being harassed by the police for just being who we are and what we are. It was about us going through the shit that we just couldn’t control anymore, and I feel that’s what birthed Krump.”

Known for his strong visual flair, Maceo worked with cinematographer and childhood friend Robin Asselmeyer to develop a “spiritual, divine kind of look” and the undeniable glow that seeps into each frame. As a handheld camera floats between intimate interviews and raw slow-motion performances, Almkvist’s original score of piano melodies and harmonies remixed with synth beats (see some behind the scenes magic here) provides the backbone that ties it all together. Culminating into a perfect symbiosis of storytelling and performance, “Raised By Krump” is an emotionally-charged ode to krump and the performers that give it life. – Vimeo

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True Love Waits http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/true-love-waits/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/true-love-waits/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:55:20 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108587 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/true-love-waits/feed/ 0 108587 William Ryan Fritch http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/william-ryan-fritch-5/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/william-ryan-fritch-5/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:23:59 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108580

Lost Tribe Sound will be releasing three albums from William Ryan Fritch this summer. A History, in Boxes is a uniting between Fritch and writer and spoken word artist Matt Finney. The other two, an extended edition of The Old Believers and The Sum of its Parts, both come from his vault of music for film…

A History, In Boxes is the sound of growing up, the sound of stepping onto the porch and arriving home after baseball practice. Youthful rites and rituals still burn in the heart: those endless, deep-pan summers still glint against the horizon, as do those first dates and the unashamed selfies that were taken as the sunset glowed against her face. Loving and losing both your teenage sweetheart and your virginity in encountering suffering for the first time is one part of the passage: the deep trauma of heartbreak is one of a thousand experiences that, while bittersweet, are there for a reason: they make you feel alive. Finney’s spoken word is from the heart, leaking with a delaying smile and a tear at the cusp of the eye, but it’s always full of appreciation and gratitude.

This is a sweeping slice of Americana, a long-lost relation of a new, explosive folk with a soft inner centre (thanks to the banjo), with electro-acoustic elements similar in vein to post-post-rock. Wise and weary words say the things that’ve settled in the heart. Secret emotions come alive in these vocal love-letters, painting in cherry lipstick Finney’s sublime use of words. Sliding melodies and sun-drained strings swirl in the atmosphere, their light eclipsed by tall trees and summers gone. Propulsive drums energize the music, and they don’t want to give up the feeling – they cling to it. The drumming is elephantine in size and is also a primal war cry, a desperate appeal to anyone who’ll listen during the depths of heartbreak, while ‘Courthouse Wedding’ is a teenage dream, pre-drama, its bleached boards and high windows sunbathing in summer light.

This album is about two women who changed my life. I loved them and lost them both. I was young and stupid and not ready for either of them but they taught me a lot. – Finney

 In 2014, only three years ago, William Ryan Fritch and Lost Tribe Sound began releasing a series of twelve albums over a two-year stretch. The Old Believers was a part of that gigantic Leave Me Series. Musically, The Old Believers has a very different tone. Its classical leaning automatically brings about a darker atmosphere. As well as bringing back the original score, the music has been rearranged and the album features eight new and reworked compositions. Music was used from two other recent films highlighting the harrowing situations of those displaced and seeking safe refuge, one of them being the 2016 academy award nominated documentary ‘4.1 Miles’. But calling the music a ‘score’ is a bit of an injustice. While it would be classified (urggggg) as soundtrack music, it’s so much more than that. Why should it prop up a scene on the screen when it has a life of its own? Soundtracks are usually staccato-stilted collections, but this is cohesive and broad in scope.

Fritch’s compositions are jaw-dropping behemoths. His skills in this area are well-documented. Sure, we’ve known about them for a while, but that doesn’t diminish the power of the music. One segment emerges as a shy and softly-spoken soul, a delicately plucked instrumental, while the next explodes with volcanic force. The music has a common, brooding theme at its core, a tension that never settles or stabilizes; no resolutions, mirroring the horrors of uncertainty and the ill anxieties of a life without security or shelter. The strings don’t bend willingly towards a sense of peace. There are tender moments within, and their brevity makes it all the more moving. You can find temporary refuge in its crumbling stone walls and its ancient abbeys, and the album is long enough to find a secluded place within its music.

‘Who Fell the Last Tree’ adds to a sober sky, and its liberated percussion puts a thoughtful, mature musicianship in the limelight. There’s something of native tradition inside the music, of aged folk music and old ways. The dusty strings are caught up in an uneasy alliance with the present, a swirling integration that somehow works, but these old traditions give the music a feeling of warmth in spite of its overcast weather, and the music is kept safe from harm.

The Sum of its Parts starts off in equally dark territory, thanks in part to its classical manifestations, its hanging notes and its low-registered appearances. You should never judge someone based on their appearance, though, and the same is true in music…if you look closer – deeper – you’ll find that the music is livelier than the leaden, conservative-leaning The Old Believers. The music’s got the blues, staring down into an empty bottle at two in the morning, but the second track seems to contradict this as strings wake up and smell the coffee. Come the morning, there’s no risk of a hangover.

The swelling sun lights up the space in an orange and amber light, the glowing dawn promising something special for the day ahead. The music has a stronger aftertaste than coffee; when it begins to pump, getting into its proper gear, it carries something like the clanking of cogs in an iron machine, its smell like that of a copper coin or the frizzling air seconds before a lightning strike. The recurring motifs – a staple in film scoring – are strong enough to not need an accompanying image. The mood isn’t exactly oppressive, but its classical approach ages the music and wrinkles its skin…its bones appear as worn-down sets of ivory, but its spirit is spritely. The music gracefully transfers from a thoughtful mood to an energetic release, swooning into the unknown. Sometimes this happens in a single piece, as on ‘Subconsciously’, but others spread themselves out.

So many artists overthink things…and their music asphyxiates because of it, burdened by unnecessary baggage and too much unrequited love – high on complexity and low on fun. Fritch’s earthy and colourful style knows no bounds; it’s illimitable.


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Mike Cooper – Raft http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/mike-cooper-raft/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/mike-cooper-raft/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:48:06 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108570

The wealth of life experience we capture in our rem sleep – where sleep thoughts are most welcome to burrow into my account about us – loses its relationship with fixity at an hourly rate. Often we are adrift like a raft… and often the unpleasant journeys once experienced become seen afresh, anew. Mike Cooper’s new “Raft” lp flips this scriptural logic, full of magical, nascent ideas. The slow reply of the work matches a slow start, a sludgy middle and an overall stoner folk finish.

But first, the sad news. In the info provided one finds out the story has a tragic dedication – the raft helped to build by Cooper caught fire and Mike’s friend’s children could not be saved. Mike dedicates this record to that family. It’s a very lovely album. The pastoral essence is bottled and releases in places like a genie granting us wishes of redemption. In life we make the bread and we do the dishes, but mortality is not internal despite the comparable wishes for health and prosperity. The exit gate of life among loved ones can become clouded by sorrow, the opposite mood happily of this record.

With a range of floral titles like “Vitali Alsar” and “Honey Hunters”, the music is prettily imbued. The opening piece latches electronic comb filter tendrils onto synths and guitar. Guitar gets brought into the picture a lot here. With genuine melodic genius on display, the sound is much like a fully fledged fun fair. The melodies are sherbet-rich, candy floss capers abound. Indeed, the gentleness of the compositions is what invites repeat hearing. Like hazy provocateurs Zelienople and Jan Linton, this musical magic is doused in the springs rather than left to spread, to mark the loss, like wild fire. A truly stirring artwork, “Raft” reminds us our locus of evaluation may become exhausted at points, but when the music is this comfortingly psychedelic, who is worried about that?

Genre wise, that comparison matrix recalls Colin Lindo with his Nubian Minds Detroit techno project…also the music of G.A.S is called to mind. Although that’s to compliment Cooper rather than discredit him. The genial philosophy of free flowing thought is a strong potion here, one the water carries with it as an ode to brighter days. “Raft” in the end succeeds not because of backstory, but because of forefront realisation. The dedication is done, the tragedy is washed away…hope re-enters that one day a natural disaster will not impeach so many good – old and new – memories.


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Ryoko Akama – places and pages http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/ryoko-akama-places-and-pages/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/ryoko-akama-places-and-pages/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:54:24 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108564

The place could be an empty room; a quiet street corner; a fountain or waterfall; a huge echoey space. The sounds: reverberant cracks, lush organ drone, quiet whoosh of distant traffic, tapping and banging, whistles and squeaks, accordion chords, low, rough gurgling, high-pitched whining, fast chirruping, guitar and clarinet notes, footsteps and voices, ringing like an old telephone, ringing like a fire alarm. The durations: from three seconds to around 12 minutes. The volume: mostly quiet, with some crescendos and diminuendos, and some bolder amplitudes here and there.

The structure of Ryoko Akama’s “places and pages”, consisting as it does of a large number of mostly short, seemingly unrelated pieces, suggests a collection of scribbled notes and brief jottings accumulated over time. An interview with the composer on the Another Timbre label website sets the record straight: the text scores behind each piece were each carefully developed and thought through with performance in mind. Reassembled here are the crew who performed Taku Sugimoto’s ‘mada’ so beautifully — Akama, Cristián Alvear, d’incise, and Cyril Bondi — with the addition of Christian Müller and Stefan Thut. Together they perform the pieces with the sort of balance between sensitive openness and calm precision I’ve come to expect from these musicians.

I did feel that this two-disc collection could’ve been edited down to one CD without losing the overall concept — this is something worth thinking about in these days when many potential listeners are rich in music but comparably poor in time, especially when many of the pieces follow the collections-of-sounds-interspersed-by-silence pattern that by now feels very familiar. But there is some wonderful music here: at the moment I’m especially taken by the unhurried two-note pattern of ‘places and pages 11’, the rough minor-key tonality of ‘places and pages 24’, and the rushing of water and distant voices of ‘places and pages 32’. Play the album through, make an hour-long playlist of your favourites, and enjoy; or put on shuffle and listen for as long as you have time.

Ryoko Akama

Another Timbre

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John Cage in London http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/john-cage-in-london/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/john-cage-in-london/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:09:23 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108557

‘Two4’ is a late work from John Cage’s Number series, composed using chance procedures. It will be performed in London by Aisha Orazbayeva on violin and Naomi Sato on shō — a Japanese wind instrument associated with gagaku court music, and one of the few non-Western instruments that Cage wrote explicitly for. The concert forms the release party for the recording of the same piece, and will also feature traditional Gagaku music alongside works by Orlando Gibbons and Georg Philip Telemann.

Date: Friday 7 July 2017, 7pm
Venue: Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JD
Tickets: Free, but a donation is requested in aid of PROEM-AID, an organisation dedicated to saving migrants’ lives at sea
RSVP: sam@snvariations.com or via BrownPaperTickets

I’ve much enjoyed the work of Orazbayeva on performances of work by Bryn Harrison and Vitalija Glovackyte, and the shō looks like a fascinating instrument, so this should be a good one. For those listeners not in London (which would be most of us, I imagine), the recording will also be out on 7 July via SN Variations.

SN Variations

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Bill Seaman – Erasures and Displacements http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/bill-seaman-erasures-and-displacements/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/bill-seaman-erasures-and-displacements/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:31:19 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108548

A cold piano hides inside a grey hood, slinking around in the shadows, tucking its face away from the world. Only a couple of notes are visible. Although this entrance puts the audience on edge, like a gunslinger walking into a wild west saloon, it isn’t too ominous. It just hangs there, its melodies loitering in and around night-covered parking lots and abandoned suburbs. Erasures and Displacements was built in Ableton using instruments, loops and cut / copy / paste segments which were deleted, reworked, re-edited and added to at a later date. The calming, reclining piano is something that provides instant relief, but paradoxically its minimal appearance can make the heart rate spike. Its cloud isn’t pungent, ala the noxious poison of cigarette smoke, but is similar to a wavering mirage that snakes over the black asphalt in the baking sun, or a candle as it shuffles uneasily on a whisper of thin air; flowing and constricting.

Punctured by a variety of crackles and whooshes, which are able to pierce the primary sound of the piano (albeit in a gentle way), Erasures and Displacements edges its way into dark jazz territory, shuffling like a zombie. Instrumentally, it’s smooth, but the album’s unsettled by the echoing debris, which gets closer…and closer…and closer, upsetting regular rhythms as well as the general mood. It darkens. Just like dragging and dropping a track in the program, the atmosphere itself turns, dragging down the piano and dropping the temperature.

Like a lone tear, sad arpeggios occasionally trickle down its cheeks, its bleak expression an unwanted visitor around aching eyes. While that happens, ice-cold, dismembered electronics scuttle around in the background; phantom limbs that’ve lost their original organs. Their amputated sounds are if anything uncaring rather than malevolent, and a bony-but-coherent body grows out of its dislocated and disjointed history. Sounds stutter and shadows shift. The piano creeps through midnight corridors, its undertones of dark jazz producing that smoky light of a bar just after midnight. Despite the collective gremlins, the tone is like silk, lighting up the music in pale, altered neon. The piano is like a dank streetlight illuminating a couple of threats, but the dulcet tone of the trumpet eases them away. As expected, Erasures and Displacements is an album of great quality. Bill Seaman takes an experimental approach, both musically and in the album’s general philosophy, exploring the gulf that had separated the living instrumentation from the dead, the deleted sections enjoying a reincarnation when all had seemed lost.

(note: I was cleaning my computer’s hard drive earlier this week and accidentally deleted the original draft of this review…d’oh! Given that the album was all about erasures and displacements, I found that to be irony at its finest. Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh, haven’t you?)


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Matthew Atkins – Fifty Three Loops http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/matthew-atkins-fifty-three-loops/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/matthew-atkins-fifty-three-loops/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:18:34 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108537

Beauty is not what beauty is; beauty is what beauty does: intention manifested through action, tested by tangles of flesh-taking and blood-letting happenstance. The five W’s of journalism—who, what, when, where and why—are foundational to man’s nature as a self-made creation; and yet, as an ironic third act to the comedy-drama that is life, every adult eventually returns to the same hydra-headed question that amuses all kids consumed by the concept of infinite regress: why. Why are we stopping at the gas station, Daddy? To fill up the car with gas, Son. Why are we filling the car with gas, Daddy? Because a car needs gas to move. But why does a car need gas to move? Because the engine is built to process gas in a way that converts it from one form to another, creating energy so that the car can then move, thus getting us to Grandmother’s house for the holidays. But why? Because I said so. Now stop talking so that Daddy can drive.

As boundless as the why may be, a timeless ontological stumbling block for the wayward soul, science—unlike metaphysics—operates from the realm of the how. Matthew Atkins‘ latest experimental sound project, Fifty Three Loops, explores the issue of how sounds are ordered before the question of why ever insinuates itself. The results bypass any conventional criteria of beauty, built from angles and ratios more at home on graphing paper than staff paper. This is music to be studied rather than savored, a goal shared in common with Conceptual artists like Sol LeWitt. And just like LeWitt, the irony-bare visionary who freed art from its excessively Romantic past—where the I reined as center of being and world—Atkins largely jettisons selfdom from Fifty Three Loops’ sonic sculptures.

Fifty Three Loops sources sounds chiefly from a decommissioned drum kit. Various percussion instruments are discreetly plucked, pounded, bowed, and scraped. Piano appears sporadically, along with occasional electronics. Sounds are lightly EQ’d to enhance their natural character, but still left appreciably raw. Atkins’ structural process involves the patient introduction of one loop after another, divergent layers laboring to co-exist, pushing and pulling against each other in subtle undulations. Similar to its liner note artwork depicting a web of crisscrossing lines, the layers within Fifty Three Loops trace contrasting paths, leaving no crumbs along the way—neither hummable melodies, nor calculated harmonies. With timbre and rhythm functioning as the sole variables between loops, the slightest fluctuation in inflection causes profound effects.

True to its title—literalism being an endearing quality for any Conceptual artist—Fifty Three Loops is an exclusively loop-generated album, the why (because I said so) is the how (via loops—again, and again). There is nothing else offered, or withheld. No CliffsNotes are necessary to grasp its inner meanings. The character roster is as modest as the premise; the loop functions both as road and vehicle: driver and passenger, alike. Yet Fifty Three Loops is far more commanding than Atkins’ previous projects, more mature in vision and expression. Perhaps partially owing to Atkins’ background as a drummer (with an ongoing role in the indie-rock bands Crumbling Ghost, and Smallgang, among others), his foregrounding of rhythm reduces sounds to a frugality of form, stripped of extraneous flotsam that usually burdens his peers.

Like anything true, Atkins is not without his paradoxes. Despite the pledge of Conceptualism permeating Fifty Three Loops, a human element still remains: quite preciously, the album is published in a micro edition which includes hand-made art in the style of Abstract Expressionism. Furthermore, Atkins’ Instagram account shows ample evidence of a restlessly creative mind able to find art almost everywhere. Atkins’ photography features contrasting subjects equally: city architecture shares the same scale as backyard butterflies; subway street photography is no more austere than studio interiors. To simply capture what one sees is simply enough.

Fifty Three Loops hardly passes for a traditional beauty; but, more than likely, its creator hardly cares. The beauty is in the compositional method—both origin and destination of creative stimulus realized and transmitted in full—as an end without further aim. Man may dictate the why, the pink meat motive from a bird’s eye view, but context dictates the how, the terra firma of all entanglements. Although Matthew Atkins’ Fifty Three Loops is certainly not without allure, it never settles for easy drone tropes, managing to avoid abrasive noise and immersive ambiance, committing itself fully to the goal stated at the outset: Just do what you are, in order to hear what you think. If only life were so simple.


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Mark So – and suddenly from all of this there came some horrid music http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/mark-so-and-suddenly-from-all-of-this-there-came-some-horrid-music/ http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2017/06/mark-so-and-suddenly-from-all-of-this-there-came-some-horrid-music/#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 16:48:36 +0000 http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/?p=108528

Cristián Alvear is a guitarist and Gudinni Cortina a media artist. Together they tackle American composer Mark So’s ‘And suddenly from all this there came some horrid music’, and their interpretation of the piece seems to be constantly popping into life as quickly and unexpectedly as the title suggests, a balloon burst repeated and extended from multiple perspectives. It’s not like a cinematic moment subdivided into numerous almost identical frames; each pluck of Alvear’s guitar, each rotation of Cortina’s modified turntable is fully (t)here, a fact only emphasised by its position in a sequence of repetitions that seem both unique and (almost) identical at the same time.

Unlike a lot of other projects involving Alvear, ‘And suddenly…’ is neither quiet nor slow in tempo, though the latter quality varies from walking pace to quicksilver march. Cortina works through a number of timbres: a fast sucking of air, clicks like footsteps, metallic scraping, brittle snapping, hollow clatter, and the sort of squeak and squeal a balloon makes when it’s being tied into the shape of a dog or a fish or a flower. Not a huge variety of sounds, but intelligently and imaginatively used, which is the best way round. The contrast with Alvear’s even, steady playing (a quality that has made him the go-to guitarist for a certain class of quietist experimental music) is very nice indeed.

Music doesn’t have to be near-inaudible in volume or change at glacial rates to deeply affect your state of mind and way of perceiving the world: this is the hypothesis that a generation of post-Wandelweiser composers and performers appear to be testing. Though a certain intensity of the moment remains present, the tension and not-quite-yet of music by the likes of Beuger, Malfatti, Sfirri et al is replaced in ‘And suddenly…’ by a complete and present fullness that hides nothing. A refreshing change of gear that brings new thoughts and ideas to the table — just as experimental music should do.

Cristián Alvear

Gudinni Cortina

Mark So


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