Electronic, Experimental, Musique Concrete, Contemporary, Classical, Melbourne, Netherlands; CD – Ex Used condition
Continuity 3 (2002) for percussion and computer uses transformations both of performing technique and of the sound itself to explore relationships between continuous and discontinuous textures and structures. The use of only three metallic sound-sources does indeed create a sense of continuity and coherence, whose converse is to be found in the constantly changing electronic refractions to which the sounds are subjected. The overall effect is of an extension of the idea of resonance, so that as the metallic bodies are struck and resonate, they in turn serve to “excite” the virtual resonating body in the computer, one which is no longer tied to rigid physical objects and natural decays. Both in its adherence to a carefully selected vocabulary of sounds produced by bodies in motion and in its sense of dramatic timing, Continuity 3 seems to continue the musique concrète tradition exemplified most memorably in the work of composers like Pierre Henry, Bernard Parmegiani, and François Bayle. The fact that it is performed in real time by a percussionist and a computer running Max/MSP is a measure of how profoundly the practice of electronic music has changed as a result of the accelerating development of digital technology. At the same time, the lessons it draws from musique concrète, a music composed with magnetic tape and razor blades, is witness to the fact that the best of that music was in no way restricted by what we can now view as rudimentary and fearsomely time-consuming methods, but has, and will no doubt continue to have, many subtle and sophisticated things to tell us about the art of sound-composition. The percussionist Timothy Phillips plays with and against the distorted images of his own sounds as if engaged in the almost subliminal interactions of chamber music.