Because so many of the releases via the touchradio.org.uk website are raw field recordings, it’s difficult to tell with Nacre, its most recent offering, where the performance ends and where the setting begins.
It is a performance, a composed piece for two organs, one played by its composer, Hildur GuÃ°nadÃ³ttir, and the other by Charles Matthews. Nacre is a heavy, maxmimalist drone of a work — a thick undulating cloud of held chords, like some Olivier Messiaen sketch writ extra-large (MP3). The score, viewable below, is in the form of DNA, and GuÃ°nadÃ³ttir’s notes at the touchradio.org.uk site go into detail about its structure. Synaesthesia fetishists in particular will be intrigued by the color references in the description.
The version of the track via the iTunes podcast directory (itunes.apple.com) is a 200mb video of the performance, recorded in Riga, Latvia, on May 23, 2009, at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, as part of an installation by ElÃn HansdÃ³ttir and Hildur GuÃ°nadÃ³ttir.
[audio:http://www.touchmusic.org.uk/touchradio/Radio42/Radio42.mp3|titles=”Nacre”|artists=Charles Matthews and Hildur Gudnadottir]
More on GuÃ°nadÃ³ttir at hildurness.com. More on Matthews at charlesmatthews.co.uk.
Photo of Janet Cardiff‘s 40-Part Motet, reportedly taken at Fontevraud Abbey in France, where it is currently installed:
The more times this work is presented, the more the individual speakers stop looking like speakers and start looking like android choristers.
Panorama shot and constructed by Jean-Etienne Poirrier (of poirrier.be, found via flickr.com).
From a July 15 interview with Bill Laswell:
[Q:] Do you look to the titans of 70s fusion when you’re trying to improvise in a rhythmical electronic format like this?
BL: No, I didn’t really relate to that kind of music. I mean fusion had a great beginning with Tony Williams’ ”˜Lifetime’ when he John McLaughlin and Larry Young and later with Jack Bruce. That is a really good example of a band who play with structure but who also improvise within that structure. That was important and some of the electric Miles Davis things, which were again based round repetitive rhythm. There was a lot of room for people to incorporate sounds and rhythms and structures on top and I think that was important. But then I think fusion got to analytical; too structured; to virtuoso over art or over feeling and I didn’t follow for much after that. The only fusion I became interested in then was through following African music, Indian music and music from parts of central Asia, Japan etc. Looking back I thought Cream was a good improvising band even though it was only in a couple of time signatures and mainly based on the blues I thought that was more inspiring than what fusion became.
[Q:] Speaking as someone that we regard as quite a radical figure working with the weight and depth of bass culture, what do you think of dubstep?
BL: Well dubstep to me is a style that we’ve been hinting at the whole time. I don’t see it as being anything totally new but I like it and relate to it because I think from time to time we’ve been doing stuff like that already and now there’s a name for it. It’s not so different to things that have gone before. I think there’s a lot you can incorporate into it and I like it.
Full interview, conducted by John Doran, at thequietus.com.
Ace out-hop Philly producer Y?Arcka has launched a little base of operations at arckatron.bandcamp.com. Currently it features his late-2008 The Appreciation SP (more on that tasty bit of revisionist mixes previously on disquiet.com, including a fine reworking of an early Michael Jackson effort with the Jackson 5), and a brand new mixing he’s titled “Jungle Jammin’ (Hugh & Stevie).”
True to Y?Arcka’s mode, on the new “Jungle Jammin'” he takes tiny little segments of existing tracks and loops and stutters them until they take on new compositional properties. Skips become percussion, repetition comes to feel planned, snippets of vocals gain coded intensity, and the funk is all the more trenchant, a brittle, fragile funk that’s all about misdirection (MP3). It’s a tremendous track.
[audio:http://bandcamp.com/files/40/43/4043213092-2.mp3|titles=”Jungle Jammin’ (Hugh & Stevie)”|artists=Y?Arcka]
If the above stream or download link doesn’t work, check it out at arckatron.bandcamp.com.