Transmogrifier of sounds
by Kjartan Ólafsson,
experienced by KEITH BRAMICH
ErkiTónlist ETCD 010
This CD of electro-acoustic music from Iceland contains the Sjö
tilbrigði (Seven Variations) of 2001 by Kjartan Ólafsson
(born in 1958). Ólafsson studied in Reykjavík, Utrecht and
then at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, where his teachers were Einojuhani
Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen.
The composer has taken short segments from various of his compositions
written between 1982 and 2001, modifying them in various ways then combining
them to make new pieces, using the computer program CALMUS (Calculated Music 1988-2001) -- a system he
also works to develop and which, from hearing this CD, appears to be a very
powerful transmogrifier of sounds. Reverse play, pitch shift, sample repeat,
layering and spectrum alteration are a few recognisable effects I think
I can hear in this music -- I don't have the benefit of a score (or source
code?) for this short review, and the liner notes are very brief.
The variations take their names from particular instruments and ensembles
-- Guitar variation, Chamber ensemble variation, Electronic
variation, Orchestra variation [listen
-- track 4, 1:10-2:25], Flute variation, Chamber orchestra
variation and Voices variation.
How can I describe this music? Similar to the eye-focussing one has to
accommodate when viewing those drawings of random dot patterns containing
hidden three-dimensional objects, on the first play through, my reaction
was 'curious and intriguing' -- the structures complex, the textures bright
but dreamy, and constantly shifting, with an ambient feel.
At the second hearing, apart from several beautiful moments, a slight
feeling of boredom crept in. I felt a little lost in what I perceived as
sameness and persistent reverberation, but my ears and brain began to latch
onto the real instrumental sounds which move constantly into and out of
focus 'behind' the computer effects.
Now, during my third exposure, I'm starting to appreciate the structure,
and those 'real' sounds have become clearer as I 'hear through' the surface
shimmer and electronic gloss [listen -- track 7, 4:38-5:41].
Be prepared to do some serious aural work if you explore this disc ...
Copyright © 16 March 2002
Keith Bramich, London, UK
CD INFORMATION - ERKITÓNLIST ETCD 010
KJARTAN ÓLAFSSON'S WEBSITE
CD AVAILABLE FROM SMEKKLEYSA SM/EHF
ICELANDIC MUSIC INFORMATION CENTER
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