Thursday, July 21, 2011

[LINE_050] Seth Horvitz – Eight Studies For Automatic Piano CD (Album) 2011

Seth Horvitz – Eight Studies For Automatic Piano
Label: Line
Catalog#: LINE_050
Format: CD, Album, Limited Edition
Country: US
Released 14 Jun 2011
Genre: Classical
Style: Contemporary

Composed By – Seth Horvitz
Mastered By – Taylor Deupree
Edition of 500.
From the disc's liner notes:
Inspired by the works of James Tenney, György Ligeti, Charlemagne Palestine, and Conlon Nancarrow, "Eight Studies for Automatic Piano" makes use of simple, computer-aided compositional processes to test the limits of human perception and machine precision. It relies on a bare minimum of technical means to explore notions of temporal distortion, iterative process, and elegant complexity. Presented in an immersive concert setting without the presence of a human performer, "Eight Studies" questions traditional notions of live performance and musical "life."
A "Listener's Guide" containing detailed descriptions and visual scores for each piece can be downloaded from
All works performed by the Yamaha Disklavier C7 Mark III. Recorded at Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College,

1 Study No. 14: Arch Study For The Highest Eight Notes 5:18
2 Study No. 4: Sixteen Diatonic Glissandi Moving At Harmonic Rates 2:22
3 Study No. 2: An Approximate Series Of Approximate Harmonic Series 6:05
4 Study No. 13: Echoes 3:57
5 Study No. 21: Bells 5:20
6 Study No. 1: Octaves, Systematically Filled And Folded 5:46
7 Study No. 29: Tentacles 4:26
8 Study No. 99: Strumming Machine 12:31

Completely brilliant, brain-boxing suite of piano minimalism from Seth Horvitz, inspired by the works of James Tenney, Ligeti, Charlemagne Palestine and Conlon Nancarrow. The aim of Eight Studies was apparently to use simple computer-aided compositional pieces to "test the limits of human perception and machine precision"; it was performed by a Yamaha Disklavier C7 without the presence of a single human being, and recorded live; indeed, it's a work that questions the very nature of "live". It's pointless to go into too much depth about the techniques deployed - the curious can download an in-depth Listener's Guide from the L-ne website - but to take just one example, 'Study No.2: An Approximate Series of Approximate Harmonic Series' finds Horvitz (or at least his electronic avatar) introducing a basic repeating shape and systematically layering it, transposing it, and rhythmically offsetting it against itself. Then, in Reichian style, the length of each repeating shape is incrementally shortened, producing a rhythmic phasing process. It's huge credit to Horvitz that his rigorously mathematical approaches to composing nonetheless yield richly melodic music, lyrical and addictive. Once you've digested this remarkable album, you'll never think of the piano the same way again.

boomkat | lineimprint

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