Thursday, November 13, 2008

la la la la la la la la la la la (repeat)

Linked up from the ever helpful aworks, available on lala - "Labyrinths" by Jacob Kirkegaard is 37 minutes of closely-pitched hums, tiny waves going in and out of phase making little ripples in the air as it plays. I love this stuff, I think it's like listening to the tumblers as you crack the safe containing the Universe's secrets, but I can fully understand how someone would hate it. To me, this is perfect car trip music - bliss out on a laser pointed at there, but it is exactly the kind of thing that I suspect the ATF uses to drive rogue apocalyptics out of their concrete bunkers. Perhaps doomsday cults should start trolling music blogs for recruits.

"Labyrinths" is easily described as boring - not much obvious happens in it, but if you look at the double meaning of boring, pieces like this have a way of boring holes in your consciousness, acting as sonic trepanning chisels or as cleansing radiation, evaporating the bad and leaving the good via some obscure protocol. There is tremendous beauty in the small details of this music, or even in the projection of detail the convergence of situational dynamic and wanting something to happen can create. Or, if I may co-opt a bit about marriage from the more famous Kirkegaard:

Often I have sat by a bit of purling water. It is always the same, the same soft melody, the same green plants on its floor, swaying beneath its quiet waves, the same little creatures running about at the bottom, a little fish which glides under eth protection of the overhanging flowers, spreading out its fins against the current, hiding under a stone. How monotonous, and yet how rich in change! Such is home life of marriage: quiet, modest, purling—it has not many changements, and yet like that water it purls, yet like that water it has melody, dear to the man who knows it, dear to him above all other sounds because he knows it. It makes no pompous display, and yet sometimes there is shed over it a luster which does not interrupt its customary course, as when moonbeams fall upon the water and reveal the instrument upon which it plays its melody. Such is the home life of marriage.

Kirkegaard Anthology, pg 93. Pulled from here
Another cat who delivers this kind of moonbeam-on-the-water magic is La Monte Young who arguably created this whole field of minimalism. His "Drift Study," available on's ridiculously extensive mp3 library, also one of the few things one can easily find from him - his catalog is a little difficult to track down - is a prime example of this kind of strategy. Little oscillators murmur against each other quiet, modest, and purling like Soren's little pond. More can be found about La Monte Young on the website for his MELA Foundation

For some reason it never occurred to me before to look for La Monte Young on YouTube.

the opening of part 5 of "The Well-Tuned Piano"

Richard Youngs
explores a more personal variant on extended moonbeam walking than Young does, especially on River Through Howling Sky (also on lala) which serves as sort of a successful minimalist blues, something La Monte Young went after on his Forever Bad Blues Band project with arguable results. Young created what sounds like an extended controlled jam session, whereas Youngs uses the spirit of a blues song, the voice reachiung with the chugging guitar for something it never gets and reveling in the striving. Like Soren's little fish, it is monotonous, yet so rich in life.

Here is Richard Youngs performing "It Soon Will Be Fire" from his album Sapphie, (also on lala) one of my all-time favorite records ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment