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Applying an Orchestra to the Logic of Techno (MP3)

Some of the best music by Alan Morse Davies has involved taking pre-existing melodramatic audio recordings and rendering something new from them — something glacial and introspective. Often as not, that source music has had at its core the maudlin-sweet sounds of orchestral strings, including reworked pop tunes of old, and classical recordings.

For his own original composition of minimalist orchestral music, “Night Falls Fast,” Davies turned the formula on its head; in constructing the piece, which is full of tersely piping horns and mesmerizingly percussive strings. He has, in essence, applied orchestral resources to the logic of techno (MP3). Staccato beats drop in as if triggered by a step sequencer. Strings jut in and out with an unnerving level of rigor. (This is true of the first half of the piece — after which there is a vocal movement, and one more inspired by impressionism than minimalism.)

“Night Falls Fast” was composed in 2005 for the Milwaukee Ballet and choreographer John Utan, and what’s heard in this recent upload by Davies is a variation on the original material. The ballet was recently performed in Hong Kong, and heads to Monaco in 2010.

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More details at alanmorsedavies.wordpress.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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