Mp3 Blog #25: …Enigmatic Unfolding Rising


Glenn Branca:
Symphony #6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven): II (1989)
For the Glenn Branca Ensemble

Available on this compact disc featuring the entire Symphony #6

Jean-Claude Risset:
”Mutations” (1969)
For digital playback

Available on the OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music Compilation

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I originally meant to post these two mp3s on 9/11. These two tracks are meant to complement the part ”Falling Fragilely …the Music of Bent Sørensen and, furthermore, round off my mp3 series “Falling Fragilely and Enigmatic Unfolding Rising”. Posting the mp3s found above on Monday was also meant to provide some sort of, in the very least, illusory sense of hope on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.A. and 33rd anniversary of the CIA sponsored 9/11 military coup in Chili that put the dictator Augusto Pinochet in power. However, as can be expected, my life hampered this plan and I’m posting these two tracks what can be described as “better later than never.”

Both of these tracks have compositional demonstrations of what is arguably one of the most famous auditory illusions – the Shepard tone, a veritable auditory barber pole where, in the constantly rotating movement, it is nearly impossible to identify where one line ends and another begins. Although this auditory illusion can easily come across as one of the cheaper contemporary music clichés to an ear well versed in contemporary compositional techniques, I find that the dirty raw striving in Glenn Branca’s Symphony #6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven) holds up consistently on multiple listenings.

In contrast, Jean-Claude Risset’s “Mutations” is one the original classics in the digital acousmatic age and was the first composition ever to use a Shepard tone. This short, delicate, and almost perfect work seamlessly transforms (or “mutates”) into the first Shepard Tone ever found in a musical composition – a one ten octave glissando reiterated in a ten part cannon.

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