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The Bass as Violin / The String Quartet as Sequencer (MP3)

Listening to Jason Charney's "Ocean Body"

The string quartet “Ocean Body,” composed by Jason Charney, is by no particular means electronic. Heard in a rendition recorded live by the Fifth House Ensemble at the Ravinia Festival last month, however, it displays numerous elements that make it something of a sonic fellow traveler. There is its modest pace, which posits it in a meditative sphere. There is its grid-like metric system, which aligns it with step sequencers. There is the way it builds steadily, a composition-by-accrual approach that suggests a method not unlike that of the sampler. There is the attention to the texture of the instruments, the violin and viola in particular. And yes, that is violin singular. Beyond its intricate internal maneuvers, which become apparent as the work proceeds, “Ocean Body” has an additional distinguishing characteristic, which is that Charney directs the quartet to replace one of its traditional two violins with a bass, played here by Kyle Wescott. The result is a rich sense of grounding.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/jasoncharney. More on Charney, who participated in several of the early Disquiet Junto projects and who is based in Lawrence, Kansas, at jasoncharney.com. More on Fifth House at fifth-house.com. More on the Ravinia Festival at ravinia.org.

And here, as a bonus, is video of Charney peforming his work “Compass” (for iPhone and Max/MSP) at an Apple Store:

By Marc Weidenbaum

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One Trackback

  • By Disquiet.com and overhaul | Jason Charney on July 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

    […] Marc Weidenbaum of disquiet.com features a recording of my string quartet Ocean Body on his excellently curated website. Check it out here!  […]

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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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