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An Older Tradition of Dance Music (MP3)

“Hermes” is a track by Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, the prolific British musician and sound artist. It is an excerpt of one of his recent ballet scores, in this case a work he created with choreographer David Dawson of the Dutch National Ballet.

“Hermes” is an excerpt, an alternate mix, of what the Dutch National performed to. The full work is titled timelapse/(Mnemosyne), and for a glimpse at what these sounds are intended to align with, there is a short video on youtube.com:

Scanner retains a vestige of classical ballet by insinuating a violin section into the mix. It’s a natural connection, and brings to mind not only the scores of the core ballet repertoire, but, as the electronic percussion kicks in, precedent “crossover” work like Malcom McLaren’s “Madame Butterfly.” But where McLaren sought contrast between opera and dance music, Scanner has the benefit of working in two dance mediums at once: ballet and, for lack of a more nuanced term, techno. This isn’t merely a matter of correlative genre associations. It’s intrinsic in the music. The “Hermes” track works because while it opens in strict contrast (strings versus beats), in time the sense of contrast dissipates — those violins do not change much as the track proceeds, but as they meld with the electronic percussion they reveal themselves as a kind of percussion, a percussion of strings. The contrast doesn’t merely dissolve. It reveals itself as having been an illusion from the start.

Get the full score at apple.com. Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/scanner. Video originally posted at youtube.com. More on Scanner at scannerdot.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. Robin Rimbaud
    [ Posted September 9, 2011, at 4:33 pm ]

    Thanks for your astute and thoughtful words on this little piece of music. I’m really touched. As always thanks for your amazing support.

    WIth my very best wishes

    Robin

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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