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    Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kontakte

    Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontakte

    Really alien-spirited, “Kontakte” (1960) is a highly abstract sounding storm of purely screwed, echoing electronic soundscapes—especially suited for long evenings of deep headphone soak. Enhanced by the piano bonk of computer music pioneer James Tenney and the classically trained percussion pound of William Winant, this 1978 recording is one hell of a ride through dark, flying saucer hangar haze. “From the philosophical angle, ‘Kontakte’ illustrates par excellence the powerful continuum which may be created between the durational structure of [sound] events and the timbre of the events themselves. In discussing impulse generation a little earlier, a basic relationship was established between the timing of components in a cyclic pattern and the resultant quality of the sound produced. At sub-audio speeds, the components become events in their own right, the ‘atomic’ structure thus being revealed as a rhythmic force.

    “At about 17 minutes into the piece, a passage occurs in which the interdependence of these two aspects is dramatically demonstrated: both piano and percussion fall silent, heralding the appearance, like an aeroplane falling out of the sky, of a rasping, twisting stream of sound. This strident intruder spirals down until its pitch characteristic becomes transformed into an ever-slowing succession of sharp clicks—the very components of the original sound. Initially, these clicks are very dry, similar to the sound obtained from a woodblock when struck with a hard object. By the gradual addition of reverberation, these clicks then become smoothed and extended, with a growing sense of pitch centred on E below middle C. This pitch is then echoed by the piano and the xylophone—the resultant merging of timbres providing perhaps the most poignant point of contact in the whole work. This process of gradual transformation is not yet finished, however, for as the pulses blur into one another, a fresh stream of sound is heard emerging from the background, echoing the higher resonances of the former like a ringing cluster of finely-filtered noise components. Such a thorough mastery of creative sound synthesis as displayed by ‘Kontakte’ has rarely been approached by other composers.”—Peter Manning

    Label: Ecstatic Peace! Catalog Number: E#87 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 4 Total Time: Unknown Country: United States Released: 1997 Related Artists: Iannis Xenakis More: Discogs, Forced Exposure, Official, Wikipedia

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