Mp3 Blog #69: “Walls of Jericho”

Paul Dolden:
”Dancing on the Walls of Jericho” (1990)
Acousmatic Music

”Beyond the Walls of Jericho” (1991-92)
Acousmatic Music

Both available on the collection “L’ivresse de la vitesse” at emusic

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Paul Dolden is one of the more exciting composers of visceral acousmatic music that currently lives and works in Montreal. He constructs most of his by writing and recording a lot simple patterns and riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place in a standard rock band and then layering these recordings, often over a hundred tracks with little to no processing, to create mammoth sound masses that build to unbelievable heights of intensity and force.

These two works are the last two works from what Paul calls his “Walls of Jericho” trilogy. The esthetic aim of these works came in response to a friend who stated that there may be a capacity or threshold that things can be layered so that they no longer would be perceived as a collection of individual sounds but rather as noise. The works in the “Walls of Jericho” trilogy and many of his subsequent works seek to test and challenge this idea. To do this Paul Dolden builds the layers to moments where with multiple octave clusters completely filled with every possible eighth division of a tone. If these sound masses ever reach or surpass the threshold of noise is probably a matter of subjectivity but I think that if you listen to these works carefully enough you might end up wondering what few proposed sonic limits an ably minded composer can’t surpass.

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