Wednesday, January 6, 2010

V/A - Computer Music Currents 5 (Wergo, 1990)

Computer Music Currents is a wide spanning series of computer music composers from all over the globe. This edition compiles work from the early to mid 80's by five composers--Denis Smalley (New Zealand), Mesias Maiguashca (Ecuador), Gareth Loy (US), Kaija Saariaho (Finland), and Jonathan Dean Harvey (UK)--each exploring in their own way how timbres are transformed with tape and computers. The most recognizable here is probably Smalley, whose work with the GRM is practically a catalog of tape-transformed bells and chimes. Here he works with taped sounds inspired by ceramic chimes, with other tones noting the beginning of a new section in much the same way at the bell to turn the page in a children's storybook tape. Maiguascha I was unfamiliar with. His piece here is derived largely from instrumental sounds, transforming cello and percussion with great depth and form. Loy's "Nekyia" is a stereo mixdown of a furiously spiraling quadraphonic piece from 1980 that I'd love to hear in all of its four-channeled glory. Saariaho is another name I did not previously know, though her catalog of work is expansive. Her piece for tape begins with an undulating sine wave receiving treatment via the left and right channel, each similar in general form with careful differences in the overall shape. The collection closes with Harvey's "Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco", a piece inspired by and built from the sounds of a cathedral bell juxtaposed with a rehearsing boys' choir, taking great measures to preserve the realness of his muse yet surrounding it with digital facsimiles that swarm through the space.

Computer Music Currents 5

1 comment: