"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

60s and 70s

The Wire doesn't rate it, apparently, but The Wire is wrong*. To these ears (as noted) Damian Valles's Nonparallel (Experimedia) is one of this year's essential releases - a compelling, rich piece of avant-garde archeology that pays an anything but reverential homage. It honours its objects (Nonesuch's 'Quality Recordings at the Price of a Quality Paperback') appropriately by embedding & ultimately evaporating them through a potent series of shivering, crackling drones.

As Anti-Gravity Bunny noted in a spot-on (&, ahem, appreciably more timely) review, this is Jeckian re-appropriation done to a turn ("pops & clicks turned into a dozen muted typewriters...classical pianos melted in a cauldron of dark drones, something wholly original born out of forgotten thrift store relics."). Don't bet against its severe, transforming beauty enduring as long as those $2.50 classics...

*NB: ironic use of categorical judgement in obviously taste-determined context...

Blurb: "Nonparallel (In Four Movements), is composed and arranged entirely from samples from the recordings of avant-garde Western classical composers and computer music released by the Nonesuch label in the 60s and 70s. In working with the material, Valles wanted to enter into its very lineage, to forge a dialogue with it, to both extrapolate something essential from it and contribute to its legacy by using it to create an original work some three decades later. Divided into four movements, it is a nuanced album of subtle complexities that took roughly three years to complete. The process started with recording small sections, randomly selected from pieces written and performed by the likes of Elliot Carter, William Bolcom, Charles Ives, Charles Wuorinen, Stefan Wolpe, et al. The source material was then carefully cut up, rearranged, stretched & heavily manipulated. In addition, the decision to sample directly from the original vinyl editions was important in order to capture the crackles and noises generated from the records themselves. In using them to create a backdrop for the new pieces, the intent is for the old sounds to mix with those generated from the newly pressed work to create another aspect to the overall soundscape."

Nor is Nonparallel all that Valles has up his sleeve. Like last year's Skeleton Taxa, his ratcheting Monuments and Ruins split with Talvihorros (Textura) - a spacious, spectral counterweight to the crowded, closed-in NP - also repays time invested in it. 

Movement I by Damian Valles

Damian Valles - Movement II

Damian Valles - Nonparallel [In 4 Movements] (album preview)

talvihorros / damian valles - monuments and ruins (album preview)

Hollow Earth Theory (Sample) by Damian Valles

damian valles - skeleton taxa (album preview)

Bones Made Out of Bone from divershands

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