Review

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, August 25, 2003

It’s useful thinking about the extreme contrasts in John Oswald’s output. Famous for his “Plunderphonics,” a multidimensional musical-genre kind of studio schizophrenia; concretely active as a sax improviser in various new music settings. Yet in Aparanthesi the Canadian composer stretches forms, lights and dynamics out of a single pitch, forcing ears to be constantly in full-receptivity mode and tuning any event to that ‘big note’: a piano chord, a thunderstorm, frequencies that bats would hear better than humans. This concept is fully described and discussed by the author in the CD booklet, which I encourage you to read carefully; what remains to be said is that this is music at the highest depth and introspection levels: its ‘one’ note is at the same time a signal, a promise, a mirror room, an expectation, a blood pulse, those small signs our body transmits at night when silence surrounding us becomes unbearable. Listening to this record is like watching the sun complete its cycle through the day: firm-looking, it actually moves and radiates incessantly and - before disappearing under the horizon - it reminds you another day has passed by and you’re still another little point in that universe you thought you were the centre of. A major milestone in acousmatics history, this work confirms there’s no need to talk too much to get to the point. Yes - you need SILENCE to listen to Aparanthesi.

A major milestone in acousmatics history…

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