DECIBEL – STILL AND MOVING LINES (CD by Pogus)
Recently I played pretty much all of Alvin Lucier’s work I have on CD, which is quite a lot. I loved it, which was perhaps a bit of surprise. Why you may wonder, as I had the CDs already? Partly because somewhere in the back of my head, you know the work of Lucier is highly conceptual, where the idea might sometimes more important then what it sounds like, so you don’t easily return to such as CD. I was wrong, totally wrong. I loved almost all of them. When I got this I thought it was the Australian group Decibel performing the work of the same name by Lucier, but it’s not. Here we have four pieces, three of which weren’t released before.
Decibel is a group of musicians from Australia who perform with acoustic instruments along with electronics, set out to perform scores. The scores by Lucier are usually a set of instructions, which work very well for a group like this. in ‘Carbon Copies’ for instance, the performers are asked to do a unedited recording of the environment, which we hear and then the instrumentalist plays an imitation of that recording along with it, then one where only the imitator hears the recording and finally the instrumentalist plays it as he remembers the recording. That sort of thing. But perhaps this is the sort of piece that doesn’t sound like a ‘typical’ Lucier piece, with its long, sustaining sounds.
This is more a piece of improvised music, which it effectively is. The other pieces are more like that, the four players playing an organ in ‘Hands’ for instance, or ‘Shelter’ in which sounds from outside a performance are translated through a wall, which leads to some far away results. The most musical piece here is ‘Ever Present’, for flute, saxophone and piano and slow sweep pure wave oscillator, moving with majestically slow tones on the instruments. These four pieces provide the listener with a fine insight in the work of Lucier and the scope of it. From very musical to very conceptual but always very enjoyable. (FdW VITAL WEEKLY number 910 week 50).