In the music of this album, the composer imagined a sounding musical stratigraphy, with partly eroded fossil sounds of instrumental music long dead, among which are remnants of human made harmonies, encased in a matrix of eroded noise. In the course of the work, one travels as if through geological musical time, gradually meeting more and more less familiar memories, artifacts, forms and substances, preserved and left behind.Continue reading →
This album presents a unique work for bandoneon and electronics, one of the rare few since David Tudor’s work “Bandoneon ! (a combine)” from 1966 started the genre. Vervelde compared Oneirology 5 to a cubist sculpture, like Ossip Zadkine’s “The Destroyed City” from 1953, which stands in the center of Rotterdam: from every angle it looks completely different. In the same way this music is also widely different depending on the listening, despite the fixed master version presented on this recording. All special sounds and bandoneon effects, percussive, bellows and air, rattling and cracking noises have been included. Vervelde was especially happy with how this album captured the unique tone of his bandoneon, quite different from his usual repertoire, where it figures in ensembles, not solo. In a way then, the unique character of this very special instrument was captured, but also transcended by the interactions with electronic sounds and the subtle live granular synthesis added to some bandoneon layers. Those who know the bandoneon very well will recognize all details of its unique tone and noises.Continue reading →
The 3 tracks follow a path of reverse deconstruction and unraveling, going back to the origins of this composition, and presenting earlier stages of creation as later tracks progressively. In this way the listener is not only able to hear details that might be hard to hear in the tutti version (track 1), but also the tracks become more introvert, while striving to keep their emotional impact. Gradually the clear and concrete music of We will never forgive you merges into the slightly more abstract The song without words, which is in fact a minus-two version, to be followed by the even more abstract Planet of the Ants, connecting to the sound universe of van Dillen’s earlier Dronescapes. The title of the last track explicitly refers to Dronescape 5 – Myrmecology, this time as a planet of the ants, which may be the very thing we are currently creating and heading towards. As mammals succeeded the dinosaurs, now ants may have a good chance to succeed the mammals, once extinct. If that happens, may they thrive and develop collective intelligence instead!Continue reading →
The making of Oneirology 4 is placed in the period of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. The two composers worked together meeting by a remote computer connection, which was a bit of a surreal situation when compared to the time before the pandemic, but people got used to a remote working, teaching, studying, and collaborating actually very soon.
The surreal element also actively inspired and influenced the making of Oneirology 4 and its basic choice to face the introspective side of the dream. The plot refers to the elements of drone and dream, those are already present in the original work and its title by van Dillen.
The development in this specific Oneirology 4 is influenced by artistic suggestions from literature and cinema, like the surrealism and the sense of estrangement of Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, or the dystopian dimension of Philip K. Dick’s novels, but also by consulted documentation on scientific research about sleep and dreams.Continue reading →
Helium is the first compound element, and the first of the group called the noble gases. This name was chosen because this group (column in the periodic table) is chemically unreactive under conditions that favor human life. Since Helium was among the first-born atoms, it is very abundant in the universe. Though rare on earth, Helium’s universal abundance is second only to that of Hydrogen.
One can imagine that at the reality of a larger than primal atom, the road is open for more complex atoms, and so it was: in the heavier stars, thermonuclear fission processes produced heavier elements still. In fact, there is not a single heavier atom that was not created at some point in time in some star. All matter is stardust. All heavier atoms are the product of nuclear fission in stars.
We ourselves are the children of stars become aware.
One of the main aims when creating Azote was to create a music in which sounds move musically, and where the pitches are not the necessarily most important sound aspects, but sound, register and dynamics are, and it was composed so that each sound has its own sense of space with it. Also sometimes these spaces move independently within the music, allowing for sounds to enter and sound in these spaces. Thus beat becomes breath, or the lack of it.
Although at first hearing it appears that rhythm is the main musical area explored, deeper listening reveals that the music is happening within the virtual spaces created by what we can call breathing rhythmic bubbles of sound.
The importance of the sense of architectural space gives Azote aspects of soundscape, but the fact that these spaces are formally treated and move about in an overall very rhythmical way, points again to a possible symphony. But these are mere words, insufficiently able and possibly obsolete to describe let alone categorize this music.
During the development of this album, Tournier remarked it almost felt like a trio sonata for 2 flutes and electronics, pointing at the closely knit counterpoint in sounds and pitches resulting. In fact, the work combines a classical sense of form, at the same time rigid and clear, as well as open and flexible, with the improvisatory element added. Classical then has to be interpreted in both the European and Indian sense, and this form bridges formal principles shared and developed along different styles across two continents. Existing forms were not literally used, forms such as the classical European song-form, rondo, or sonata from types with their clearly outlined sections and repetitions, depending on functional harmony to work, nor is there literal use of the classical Indian forms, depending on the gradual build-up in speed, register, and intensity, all to a single drone tonic. The Dronescape Oneirology is a far more adventurous and moving drone, in sound, dynamics, pitch content and form, and is not treated as background or accompaniment, but interacted with to create a larger story.Continue reading →
During the finalizing phase of the compositional process, the unthinkable happens, and Reason is again abandoned or abused in the larger world of politics, leading to a new global war, and to more polarization between people, to complicated processes the end of which may not be so near, the scope of which none fully comprehend. This has affected the admission of fearsome and ominous sounds in the second half especially, but since they still fit the larger theme, the work likely benefitted from this sad fact. Isn’t it time the old man-made myths were abandoned, all of them, to make place for a new and freer reality in which all humans can share and grow?Continue reading →
The work Jñāna – Rigpa is exploring the boundaries of autonomous drone composition, both in the sense of its duration (it has the longest single-track duration streaming platforms allow today), as in the sense of its minimalism of musical and technical means used. While creating an atmosphere of almost trance and meditation, it also serves as a means, a tool, for deep and inner reflection. Reflection on one’s own hearing is intended explicitly here: a music that serves to listen to one’s own hearing.Continue reading →
Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, after Oxygen, the latter being also abundant in the atmosphere. In the periodic table Si is placed just below C and the two elements share many characteristics. Still, Carbon is the basic element for life, and no Silicon-based life has been discovered yet, although Science Fiction novels speculate on this possibility. Still, our simulation of life, A.I. technology (Artificial Intelligence), is largely Silicon-based because microprocessors depend on Silicon and other semiconductor elements, such as Germanium and Gallium, all of these lower neighbors in the periodic table. Their semi-conducting micro-circuitry is etched into them. Silicon makes present-day digital technology possible: our computers, phones, games consoles, our so-called smart household machines, the lot of them contain many elements, but essential is Silicon, and not just as semi-conductor, without which all this technology would not be possible.Continue reading →
Human life burns a lot of fuel, both in our bodies and in our factories, and both emit a lot of carbon dioxide. This is the exact opposite of what algae and plants in general do: plants and algae burn carbon dioxide, emitting oxygen. One wonders why we cannot have more artificial “plants” (this is what we call our factories no less, power plants being an example) burning carbon dioxide instead? This would potentially solve our most urgent environmental problems at a single stroke. As the numbers 2 and 4 are found in our bodies, in patterns of crawling, walking, running, dancing, so the numbers 3 and 5 can be observed in our breathing and heartbeat rhythms. This 5-beat pattern, consisting of a minim and an accented dotted minim, is the rhythmical cell used in the many layers of Ozone’s slowly evolving beat patterns.Continue reading →
Two structural elements that make carbon bring life to our planet are therefore 1) the chains and 2) the cycle. These two structural elements form the base of the originally created modular instrument on which the music of this album was performed. The composition process for the music on this album therefore involved the design and creation of the instrument, of the 7-part music, and the recording of the performance of the music.Continue reading →
The music of Oganesson is a one-part large and slowly evolving sound architecture, monolithic as it were, yet developing. Within this continuous composition, 5 parts each consisting of 5 layers can be discerned, each with a different balance and each with its own composition, but all created of similar, related elements, in similitude to the 5 atoms of the element Oganesson that have been created under laboratory conditions at its discovery, earlier this 21st century.Continue reading →
Hydrogen, being at the beginning of all creation, of all spacetime, of all matter, of all life, required the music, the composition to be like an open projection area for all possible associations during listening. In fact, by selective listening one can discern the simultaneous possibilities for various works all in one.Continue reading →
In Peter Brook’s 1979 film Meetings with Remarkable Men there is a scene in which musicians will attempt to produce a sound that will make the stones of a valley vibrate. In this re-enacting of a famous scene from Gurdieff’s memoires, Kudsi Erguner is one of the musician-actors performing on the screen. In the movie (and in the book), it is in fact a singer that finally succeeds at this, not the Ney. Oneirology 2 can perhaps be regarded as the ultimate attempt to amend this 42-year-old “failure” and enable Erguner’s Ney to finally accomplish this mythical task of producing a music with sounds that will eventually set a complete mountain valley into total vibration, this time in cooperation with van Dillen’s electronics/digitalics.Continue reading →
In our days, the world seems to be coming apart, coming apart again, we may be tempted to think, as humanity seems to have dealt with this before in the past. Indeed, there have been many past ages in which prophets of a kind have proclaimed the end of the world, with solutions offered within the context of their beliefs, mostly irrational solutions to irrational problems. Apocalyptic visions have thus helped establish many a tyrant in history. People that do not distinguish between belief and knowledge are tempted to believe that the current crises modern Science describes are no different from similar historical situations. There are vital differences however, among which the rational nature of the problem descriptions. Most importantly, this time we can objectively observe the crises in progress: today we are facing real and planetary existential threats, not just to ourselves, but to most life.Continue reading →
Myrmecology consists of a variety of simultaneous rhythms, working as polyrhythms, in six proportional tempi. These rhythms make up a variety of cycles by means of moving, changing, and developing, ostinati. Furthermore, these polyrhythms are enhanced by use of both binary (also quaternary at times) and ternary feel, as well as of microtiming. Microtiming is the rhythmic equivalent of the harmonic concept Microtuning, but the first is related to minute but precisely controlled differences in timing. The inspiration for this treatment of rhythm and polyrhythm can be found in various worldwide music traditions originally stemming from the African continent, many of which are using rhythm and (micro)timing as a means of emotional expression, as opposed to other traditions using (micro)tuning systems and/or harmony for emotional expression. Rhythm in this way becomes a polyphony in its own right, and in Myrmecology this is explored, over its two hours duration.Continue reading →
The title Elude is derived from the verb to elude = to avoid cunningly or adroitly (Penguin Reference 2001), which has as noun the word elusion. However, the composer chose to create for this music the new noun Elude, in assonance to Prelude and words like it, such as Postlude, Interlude etc. Therefore, as pre-lude means fore-play, inter-lude in-between-play, and post-lude means after-play, thus e-lude means outside-play. This music plays outside of and around tonal, modal and atonal systems, even outside a single style, and enters and leaves such musics at will, never completely bound to each set of formulas and conventions. It is precisely therefore that there are 12, each in its unique key signature, and not 24, as in keys (major and minor set apart), as is the case in similar keyboard collections by Bach, Chopin and Shostakovich. The 12 Eludes each have their own way of playing outside of mode and key, using a simple, technically mostly 2-voice based, setting.Continue reading →
The source of the sounds one hears on this album is the very recently developed chaotic oscillator synthesizer Generate by Newfangled Audio, a very complex instrument, at times difficult to control precisely, at other times, in many simultaneous complex instances, threatening to overload the computer, and behaving unpredictably. Some of the unexpected side effects of the complex sound synthesis have been preserved in the end result. A small palette of carefully self-built just manageable sounds (patches) has been used in all three compositions. The complex sound sometimes resembles “real instruments” such as cello, trombone and (contra)bassoon, or bass clarinet, but this is an illusion, as can be heard when it moves through various registers: these are all purely synthetic sounds.Continue reading →
Listening to this music by van Dillen resembles entering a sound exhibition, the composition presents itself to the listener as a kind of sculpture, but not to be viewed from the outside, but to be heard and experienced from the inside. A sculpture maybe, but not in the sense of presenting itself as an object to a subjective listener to be viewed while moving around it, but as a subject moving around the listener thus turning the listener into an object, even an object of scrutiny too perhaps. One finds oneself in a large musical form, a large timespan, surrounded by slow changes of and within a many layered sounding substance. Sound objects and substance float by, partly in a predictable (slow transitions) and partly in an unpredictable (sudden events) manner. The sounds, the polychromatic, also microtonal, elements chosen, are mostly subtle and generally varied, but at the same time strictly limited to the precisely chosen palette of timbres. The silences embedded are integral part of the work and not to be seen as mere breaks between sections: in the silences, the music continues unbroken.Continue reading →
Genomes takes the idea behind Pulsations (from Dronescape 1) to a next level, distilling a far greater variety of sounds from the very same core samples which resembled heartbeats. It is solely composed of rhythmically used elements. The listener enters a hypnotic timescape, possibly evoking the inner sounds of some primeval soup containing amino acids, rhythmically bubbling, but then again a scraping breath is heard, and later some mechanical sounds, the latter probably referring to a less distant time.
Emanations is composed from a set of 9 chords recorded on a Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, with various tunings, playing techniques, and recording positions. As to the latter, some chords were recorded with microphones close (close miked) and others distant with a more room sound, with more distant microphones. The full set of chords was recorded both una corda and tre corde.
In music, a drone (or bourdon) is understood to be a continuous sound, interval or chord, usually an accompaniment to a modal structure (melodic music based on a particular scale). Special instruments exist, dedicated to playing the drone only, such as the tanpura and the swar peti from India. Instruments are found all over the world that include drones within the melodic instruments themselves, such as the taraf strings on many Asian string instruments, but also the drone pipes next to the chanter in bagpipes, or the hurdy gurdy, and its predecessor the organistrum with their drone strings. Aboriginal didgeridoo music can be considered to consist purely of a rhythmized drone. Traditionally, drones with their sustained pitches are used as a harmonic support to the melodic music performed. In the Dronescapes by van Dillen the music itself has become rhythmized drone and soundscape at the same time, foregoing the traditional compositional hierarchies of theme and accompaniment, by using the following musical elements, in order of prominence: 1. sound 2. harmony 3. rhythm 4. melody.Continue reading →
In our 21st century it is becoming apparent that the bigger the cities, the more insurmountable their problems seem, and the less of these are actually resolved, often not even short-term any longer. Recent research shows that although cities have serious problems, they also offer the greatest opportunities, and surprisingly, the actual percentage of serious problems is often smaller the bigger the cities are: there are in general significant differences in our perception of the cities’ problems as compared to the actual problems. The city can therefore be regarded in both its aspects, on the one hand being both rich in opportunities, in mosaics of subcultures, containing a large variety of people, and on the other hand being rich in risks and dangers at the same time. All these considerations, as well as the City’s Janus Bifrons (or Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde) aspects have been used in the music of de Stad.Continue reading →
OIJ Records was founded July 2020. It is a record label dedicated to publishing recordings of the compositions by Oscar van Dillen. Since its inception OIJ Records became a sublabel to Donemus records Composers’ Voice series. Thanks to this collaboration, all albums are distributed to: 7Digital Akazoo Amazon Anghami Apple … Continue reading →