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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings - 'Propellers in Love' (hatART)

Arnold Dreyblatt's music really speaks to me; he might be the minimalist I feel the strongest emotional connection to. This work from the 1980s is given a disclaimer in the liner notes, from the get-go, that it's 'extremely difficult to capture on tape' and we can imagine even moreso on CD. This takes the formula of Nodal Excitation but with a slightly different compositional feel. It's easy to dismiss Dreyblatt's compositions from this decade as basically being 'dung-dung-dung-dung-dung-dung' but that's far beside the point, and not particularly true -- this disc is a very obvious midpoint, compositionally, between Nodal Excitation and Animal Magnetism. Even on CD with my lousy stereo I'm able to feel slowly emerging, thick blanketing overtones building up on every track, and the louder I turn it up, the more there is. A propeller is a good metaphor because this music is propelled along by the incessant beat, though it's often more linear than circular.  One thing I love is how infinitely relistenable Dreyblatt's music is. Yeah, it's all overtones, but they sound different every time, and there's no chance of a segment of this music getting stuck in your head like a pop song. This might be true 'eternal music' to borrow a term from LaMonte. The most subtle variations in rhythm make a movement incredibly distinct from the last one. The longest segments of 'Propellers in Love' are  'Odd & Even' and the title track, both almost ten minutes, and the duration benefits the feel; it's really easy to get lost, making the code ('Lucky Strike') all the more amazing, with it's sparse, ringing chords. This is a beautiful composition. As a bonus track, hatART gives us the 15 minute 'High Life', played by just Dreyblatt and Paul Panhuysen. This is a total drone piece, and a lovely one, surely constructed from many of the same frequencies that his other work utilises. It's meditative and anything but throwaway, but definitely of a different state of mind entirely.

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