Dave Seidel, Imaginary Harmony

seidel_imagI know I’m out of my musical league when the first sentence of an album’s description gets my head spinning. Composer Dave Seidel tells us that “Imaginary Harmony takes as its raw material a 25-note-per-octave ‘scale’ built by octave-reducing the set of harmonics used by La Monte Young in his 1990 sine wave installation ‘The Prime Time Twins in The Ranges 576 to 448; 288 to 224; 144 to 112; 72 to 56; 36 to 28; with The Range Limits 576, 448, 288, 224, 144, 56 and 28.'” It actually gets headier from there, and quite mathy. Seidel offers two tracks of identical length (9’22”) built as generative compositions in CSound, a computer music computational language. For me, unfortunately, it’s a bit like listening to a test pattern. I hear the very slight shifts of tone in these long drones, but to my ears they are glacial and I feel like I’m just listening to sets of one long tone at a time. Seidel further notes that because of the generative nature of the composition and the fact that the chords “generated are selected by a randomized process,” any real-time performance of this piece will differ. Having listened to these two tracks, I feel it would take a keener ear than mine, or perhaps just a more heavily experimental mindset, to appreciate what is at play here.

Available from Mystery Bear.

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