Arnold Dreyblatt | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., Feb. 7, 8 p.m. 2015
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For this rare solo performance the Berlin-based composer Arnold Dreyblatt will play two works, separated by 30 years, that nicely span his career. As a disciple of minimalist La Monte Young, Dreyblatt has maintained a fascination with overtones, an interest he first explored in Nodal Excitation, a 1979 composition for four musicians. (In 1982, India Navigation Records released a stunning recording of the piece that was later reissued by the imprint Dexter’s Cigar, run by locals David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke.) Dreyblatt’s compositions are as much about science as about music, often revolving around sound and vibration. For the aforementioned piece he outfitted an upright bass with piano wires and struck them in robotic fashion with his bow, unleashing a torrent of ringing harmonics. Despite the lack of rhythmic variation and melody, the web of sound produced as the overtones of struck notes collide is spellbinding. The program will also feature his 2009 piece Spin Ensemble, a reimagining of a work featured in his 2009 sound installation Turntable History. As liner notes to Important Records’ 2011 release of the latter explain, when Dreyblatt underwent a series of brain MRI scans for an illness in 2003, he became fascinated by the “sonic textures” of the scans, and gradually came to see the device as “a giant Tesla coil, in which the alignment and resonances of a powerful magnetic field are gradually altered by rotating radio frequencies.” Technicians from the company that built the MRI machine helped create the source material for the wildly pulsing Spin Ensemble, and Dreyblatt organized the sounds by pitch, rhythm, and density. Whether he works in acoustic or electronic realms, Dreyblatt’s music provides an unparalleled experience of perception-warping immersion. —Peter Margasak



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