Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Andrew Violette

I'm still undecided whether Violette fits in the elusive badass category - listening to the 22 pieces that comprise his Rave album, his musical acumen is in glorious effect, weaving disparate things together together as effortlessly as Ives or Gershwin, creating a delirious sonic haze - particulalrly in Chaconne, Minimal Aria With Didgeridooo, letting drones and Glass-y arpeggios skitter and slide across each other under the guise of a choir. It's a thrilling 2:46 of music

But I don't know if the whole grabs me. The pieces bleed into each other, with the familiar commingling with near impenetrability like John Zorn does, but without his range or intense dynamics. But maybe that's the point - a rave in the popular sense is an exercise in intensity through continuity, built on a confluence of the energy that is brought to it; the mass rises and falls with the mood of the crowd as manipulated by the DJ, the musical selector, at the center of it. And this album does exactly that. Probably the fact that I am mulling over whether Violette is a badass or not means that he is a True Badass. The more I listen to Rave, the more I want to listen to it again.

He did one thing I wish more musicians would do - he posted his musings on the music with which he lives on his blog, not just the usual technical data that is lost on the unschooled fans like myself, but the impressions and likes and dislikes with refreshing wit and candor.

Am I the only one who thinks Brian Ferneyhough is a bit of a put-on? I mean, have you seen the scores? There’s nothing easier than writing impossible-to-execute notation. I wrote reams of it as a student until I realized that the goal of notation is not to make things more difficult for the performer but to make things as simple as possible.

His blog is throwing out hundreds of pieces and composers that I suddenly need to hear. It's what I think modern composition is missing - it has plenty of practitioners and scholarly analysts, but not enough unabashed fans, people willing to go into the hermetic confines where this magic is conjured and drag it out into the light of day.

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