Sunday, January 12, 2014

No-input mixer Arvo Part and drone metal

Alright, here's a two-fer.

First, something that probably more closely aligns with the scope of this ensemble:

'Fratres' pour console no-input (extrait) from Christian Carrière on Vimeo.

We've kind of got two levels of minimalism-ception going on here.

Compositionally, we hear aspects of minimalism in the original "Fratres" by Arvo Part. There are actually several versions of this piece, though according to Wikipedia, the most popular are the version for solo violin, string orchestra, percussion, and the one for violin and piano.
Here is the former:

Now, to my ears, this doesn't quite fall into the category of minimalism. There are indeed a limited number of chords used in the same pattern multiple times, and it's supposed to exemplify Part's Tintinnabuli method of composition (look it up). However, when these limited resources are put through so many variations and settings (that solo violin completely changes character multiple times, my favorite is the harmonics section, starts around 8:30), the stasis of nine repeating chord sequences is broken, and a sense of development and significant motion is implied.

The no-input mixer version, though admittedly very short, does away with any variation whatsoever and adds a new level of minimalism by reducing the source material to nothing more than what would normally be used only as part of the PA in an instrumental performance.

OK, now number two, only because I've got a soft spot in my heart for drone metal.
You could definitely argue that this totally fits into the realm of Electronic Chamber Music because the sounds (feedback, distortion, standing waves, etc) would not be possible without the use of electric guitar, massive amplification, and recording studio know-how.
Very long, very repetitive, chant-like vocals, absolutely intended as a meditative experience.
Unfortunately, I feel like heavy references to drug use diminish the impact of this piece as an aesthetic accomplishment, but we're musicians... we can see beyond cultural context in order to recognize the underlying art.

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