Wednesday, July 9, 2008

If I could have a personal soundtrack

The kind that plays when I am doing stuff, something appropriate to my mood or action I would want to Nik Bartsch to write it. Stoa is an amazing piece of work, wonderfully indescribable. It sounds spontaneous, like some of the best small group jazz, but must be insanely well rehearsed. It feels like some of Reich or Glass's minimalist work with a less rigid frame, no phasing and more emotion.

I found Bartsch's description of "Zen Funk" confusing when I listened to Stoa. Having now spent up big on the Ronin canon I can understand the description. REA certainly has some funky grooves, but not so much Stoa.

My label is "Small Group Minimalism". A poor attempt to bring together the
ideas freedom (small group jazz) and constraint (minimalism).

Stoa takes you on a journey through brilliantly described aural landscapes. Each Modul has its own rhythmic and harmonic landmark that is regularly shown, sometimes in the distance or brought quickly into sharp focus. Sometimes built upon with extra timbres or dynamics, sometimes left starkly exposed like a solitary peak.

There is always a sense of motion with this music, fast - slow, staggered - even. The moving is well contrasted with periods of rest. Staring out a train window, as we are flying through stations with this music coming through head phones is an unreal experience taking me out of the carriage through the waiting crowds.

Stoa is both comfort music and music that demands my attention. I can't keep away from it, I listen to it at least once a month. It's musical crack. I find myself trying to tap out the polyrhythms on the mouse when my mind has wandered. It's way too addictive. I just need to stitch some little speakers into my jacket, have the nano buried in the pocket and get some clever-clogs to attach the controls to my heart-rate, blood pressure, and whatever chemical my brain is playing with at the time. easy peasy

The only hassle with this as my personal soundtrack is the deep loathing my wife has of it. Am I willing to pay the price...hmmm.

Modul 33

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