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    Arne Nordheim – Electric

    July 23rd, 2008

    Arne Nordheim - Electric

    A really beautiful and austere double-foldout digi-pak–emblazoned with large, crudely xeroxed dots on an orange background with tastefully small typesetting–contains some of the best electro-acoustic works from the late ’60s and early ’70s, originally released on vinyl in 1974. Physically and sonically, this almost seems like a companion volume to the Edgardo Canton and Vittorio Gelmetti CDs on Nepless. Collect all three!

    “‘Solitaire’ (1968) is the name of the most austere diamond setting in which all of the stone’s sides are open and refract light. However, ‘Solitaire’ may also be transcribed as ‘alone,’ and this beautiful and glittering timbre landscape may also stir feelings of something both alien and alienated. A ‘virtual’ space in which we experience the human voice as it pierces this rushing soundscape, with the effect being one of nakedness and loneliness in an all-encompassing whole. The piece’s shimmering and crystalline sound is largely developed from recordings of poetry readings.” A solemn drone with icy reverberations fades in quietly—gradually amplifying to a loud climax—then floats back out slowly to way deep space-pulses. Cash register-like crashing glass, mangled tape-cuts and twittering ice splices thunder into view, very much like a sped-up “Concret P-H.” The piece continues with heavy thunder, ambient tones, reverbed voices, machine gun echoes and shrill, bell-like sounds. A period of silence follows, then comes a reprise of the original opening gush, along with some sparse tinks, echo-spliced ice and an “organ” fade out.

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