Coming after a long Sunday afternoon at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ for a program of Charles Ives’ work, performed as was to be expected with verve by the Ives Ensemble (especially well-played were the second Violin Sonata and also the second Piano Sonata), this evening’s round-up features a cityscape, an improvisation, and a registration of the uproar of technology.
An artist from Finland who has established the locus of his activity in the acoustic realm, Ilpo Jauhiainen, and whose itinerary takes him often to Africa on account of his love of the music of that continent, has been featured here before; currently he is at work on a sequence of new albums, of which the first is tentatively entitled Possible Cities, and if “Go-Slow,” the collaboration with Emeka Ogboh which has just been posted on his Soundcloud page is any indication, it may well comprise a succession of cityscapes, that is, the acoustic likenesses of a number of different cities rendered in their specificity, so that the album in its itinerary may foster the drawing of critical distinctions between them – traversing in reverse the order of discovery of the artist in his. An atlas-like album to be listened to forwards and backwards, in other words.
The second of tonight’s tracks is an “Improvisation” recorded a couple of days ago by the Toronto composer Joel Garten, one of a series of them in which the aim seems to be to explore how far the piano in particular might lend itself to being used in such a way, when considered as one in the family of string instruments in the broadest sense. And then actually it does seem as though it might distinguish itself from them, on account of the structure of its keyboard, which typesets the music in an alphabetic script, as it were, as distinct from the cursive handwriting as which the musics of the others usually flow along; in so doing the instrument would be shown as the one the more likely to sustain the listener’s interest in an improvisation.
How chillingly the sounds of technology in revolt against us would strike our ears, is conveyed by the last of tonight’s tracks, found on the Soundcloud page of an anonymous Parisian proponent of experiments in “Dadaist glitch” whose moniker is Da Fake Panda – one which does not have a title so much as a chaos of symbols whose formatting has gone haywire and of which the jumble obliterates the rules of typographical spacing one had thought were by now hard-wired into all the computers. So here, by some manner of wizardry the artist has performed upon them, in “;⃝[̧D̡34D̴-̮̮̮̮̮̮̮̮̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍̍L҉1͞N̸K]████,” we have an anticipation of what might happen were these systems somehow to embark upon vandalism or worse.