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Antoine Beuger - A Young Person’s Guide to Antoine Beuger (Slub, 2008)


Now this is some serious modern classical/lowercase/minimalistic improv bullshit - a recording with 8 musicians yet you cannot hear a bloody note played. I’m sorry, Taku Sugimoto, instead of taking off and putting on your precious hat all the time during recording session and plucking your string once every 15 minutes, why don’t you try operating closer to -2dB?


Antoine Beuger album pages are the RYM equivalent of 4’33” videos on Youtube. It shouldn’t come as much of surprise, since Antoine and his Wandelweiser compatriots best exemplify and extend post-Cage composition. I can understand why someone might be initially hesitant toward a composition consisting of a reading from Spinoza’s “Ethics” interjected with protracted silence (calme étendue (spinoza)) or one that is two hours of faint whistling (keine fernen mehr). However, I find the ire that Beuger still draws after repeated listens odd and unwarranted. Nearly everything I’ve heard from Antoine Beuger is sublime in its restraint, enriched by—not in spite of—abstract and unconventional methods.

The two compositions found on A Young Person’s Guide to Antoine Beuger are the string octet Tanzaku - For Eight Bowed String Instruments and electric guitar sonata Sekundenklänge (Some Sounds, Just Seconds) - For An Instrument With Decaying Sounds, each performed by Japanese musicians of Onkyo relation. Each piece is hyper minimal, comprising of several short movements, each as sparse as its predecessor and successor. Tanzaku modestly resembles the pseudo quartet Aceghd written by Nikos Veliotis; however, the former is a bit more varied in its tones, though each are airier, and less resolute in their sustained bowing.

It might not seem possible, but Sekundenklänge manages to out quiet the preceding composition. Performed by Taku Sugimoto, all of his trademarks can be found here: silence, delicacy, and decay. In fact, it is entirely plausible for someone to mistake Sekundenklänge for a Taku original. But the hate expressed in that quote and elsewhere is perplexing when one considers (a) how similar this piece is to some of Taku’s formative improvisation and (b) how well received many are, especially by those who object to Sekundenklänge. Some Sounds, Just Seconds, For An Instrument With Decaying Sounds—both the title and composition are of empyrean beautiful.

This is still available through erstdist.

*reposted because of annoying Tumblr-spambots

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