Classic Avant-Garde...Electronic artists collide, for this r
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 05/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A strange one this....what transpires is a 2-CD disk of re-compostion's and arrangements, which are designed to: "explore the connection between electronic experimenters on the Warp label and their sonic grandfathers". What this amounts to, is a reinterpretation of pieces by: John Cage, Steve Reich, Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher, given to proper musicians (in this case, The London Sinfonietta), and the connections between the classical avant-garde and more popular forms of experimental music, have been amalgamated and interwoven, to bring more classically composed arrangements for the tracks by Aphex Twin & Squarepusher (as well as a "Boards of Canada" track), and modern re-imagining of the classic /avant-garde compositions by John Cage, Steve Reich & Karlheinz Stockhausen .
This is all handled and performed with the usual commitment and precision, that you'd expect from The London Sinfonietta, with what seems like a orchestra, that brings to these arrangements to life, by the use of beautiful soft strings, and a studied melancholic atmosphere, and this unique experiment is accentuated by graceful rhythmic and simmering electronic touches that hover above the orchestra, and would by and large...prove too complex for existing instrumental ensembles to fully interpret , and using mechanical processes replicating the loops and repetitions of computerized music, these composers/performers fascinated by untempered, non-orchestral sounds, were skilfully able to shadow the textural variety usually associated with electronica.
It's a heady experiment for sure....and it's sounds a million miles away from the difficult, fractured and freewheeling sounds and beats of Squarepusher & Aphex Twins work. (although certain segments of the performances do recall the textured, cerebral and sophisticated moods of their more ambient / downtempo tracks). And it'll take a remarkably committed fan of Squarepusher/Aphex Twin, to immediately recognise these re-compositions, such is the wildly different sound & arrangements. Where electronic sounds and computer arrangement have given way to actual instrumentation (with electronic effects assisting) thereby what you mostly find is that if a track was originally a frantic, volatile dance track, that shifted and accelerated around a high BPM, that it has largely been transformed it into something like manic, skewed Stravinsky. It's a radically different sound..for sure!!, that loosely resembles the originals, and are indeed far closer to Steve Reich and John Cage's, Stockhausen's experimental avant-garde work...which works a great deal with repetition, which if you not familiar with Cage, Reich's & Stockhausen's work, may prove difficult to digest.
For all the brilliance on display here, it's difficult to see who this album is aimed at??.....for me, there's no denying to excellence of the musicians/performers and their ability to perform this material. But fans of Aphex/Squarepusher, may find these interpretations, difficult to appreciate, as they initially only slightly resemble the originals. And fans of Cage/Reich may well have no interest in the work of Aphex/Squarepusher, when there is plenty of works of both Cage/Reich's/Stockhausen's own original work to choose from. But viewed as a stand-alone one-off experiment, it's a fascinating one, that although the connections with the original work are tenuous, at best....the stunning performances make this a thoroughly engaging listen, and it really is one of those albums that gets better with each listen, and what at first may seem a little flat and unremarkable, definitely grows in appreciation, the more your prepared invest with this and give several plays. And those that buy this knowing what to expect, will hopefully get as much out of this as I did.
A divine creation.......
collegemoney | 10/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best of all worlds. The all time finest purveyors of avant garde and minimalist classical, the London Sinfonietta, play a virtual "greatest hits" from the pioneers of this music (Reich, Stockhausen, Cage, Ligety, Nancarrow etc.) and include a few works by their progeny Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. All done in the spontaneity of live performance. Two full CD's worth. A dream realized."