Sunday, May 1, 2011

SAMPLE & HOLD : morton subotnik / volume 1 :electronic works

For any lover of that Buchla sound, this cd is an essential listen. While this is overall a compelling listen, I am particularly taken by A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur, a piece that explores the percussive sounds that can only be produced by the Buchla. The Opening section begins with chattering mallet strike sounds; around 8:17 the sky explodes with a tumultuous sonic cloud-burst that like the bursts of sound that Stravinsky used to tense displeasure in his 1913 Rite of Spring seems to smack the listener across the room. After this dense build-up, a period of simple quiet ensues, then...Dance, a percussive propulsive section that exploits that Buchla sound beautifully. Two minutes into Dance comes an abrupt silence and then a simple sonic motif finally populated by garbled tones that again fade to silence that slowly evolves into metallic percussive tones, and sonic alien worm-holes that build to waves of layered cacophonous sounds. Percussive sound of a different nature inhabits the final four minutes...then flashes of melodic content begins to dart erratically, negotiating percussive jabs. What has slowly evolved out of a aleatoric sulphuric chattering haze is simply genesis, a beginning.

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