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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Isaac Schankler, Because Patterns

No person is an island and perhaps every piece of music connects in some way to every other piece of music whether local or world-widely, contemporary to ancient. That may be more to chew off on this rainy morning than I can safely address on the blog, but it explains my feeling listening to Because Patterns (Aerocade Music 011). I get a distinct window on experiencing a piece of today that is electroacoustically enmeshed with what has happened in Electronica and the Post-Progressive in Rock, on one hand, soundscaping ambiance, and the whole spectrum of the Modern Contemporary Classical on the other.

This is something one can get in vinyl, and that makes sense because it is long enough but not too long for that platform--so that hipsters in vinyl-land may find it quite properly LP-ish in pacing and content. My copy is a CD and that need not deter us of course, because I heard the same sounds obviously. Still, this is part of present-day audience credence I guess.

The album consists of three works, the first long-ish at 24 minutes, the second two in smaller chunks that no doubt fit onto side two of the record in vinyl.

The opening work is perhaps the more ambitious of the three, "Because Patterns/Deep State." It features as source and as principal sound generator Aron Kallay and Vicki Ray on prepared piano. There are parts of the finished work that rely on more-or-less unprocessed acoustic instrument but then a great deal surrounds those moments that is electroacoustically transformed. A soundscaped section consists of continuous sustains of air-ear-ay and atmospheric blankets, but then there returns the punctuated periodicity of the two-piano interactions that sound less like Cage-meets-Bali and closer to something you mind find in Radical Tonality works these days. The piece juxtaposes the two possibilities in ways that enchant. It is something to hear and luxuriate within, for sure.

The following two works make some use of recording studio processing but less so. They are primarily the conventional instrument with accompanying ambiances, and sometimes also a bit of what sounds like overdubbing.

That is true of "Mobile I" with Sakura Tsai on violin. It is a subtle combination of conventionally recorded solo violin doubled-up at times and then backdropped with electronically altered long-sustain electro-subtleties. In some ways here for me are the finest ten minutes of the program, for the violin parts are engagingly done and the electronics interweave in the happiest manner. Some extended techniques interject into the music towards the end and are complemented by rapidly moving electronic bass percussives.

The final work "Future Feelings" is a good deal of Nadia Shpachenko on piano per se. There is a slightly rhapsodic Romantic remnant-ory overbite in terms of a rhapso-element to this music and glistening arpeggios as well. It is more situated in both a sort of capturing of "beauty" as well as the motility of some Improv Jazz, yet all is decisively resituated in a personal aural cocoon so to speak.

The distinctively shifting moods and presences of the three works lend themselves well to vinyl and its expectations of physically turning the disk over halfway and the psychology of that.

The music grew on me util I looked forward to another spin. It is music that provokes and takes you on a traveling movement, a sojourn. I recommend it for a palate cleanser that gives of itself to change the scene for you aurally.

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