Boomkat Product Review:
The Tapeworm present four recordings of Mark Fell’s Focal Music, wherein Mark plays a pattern generating system thru headphones to Laura Cannell (Violin), Sandro Mussida (Piano) and Aby Vulliamy (Viola), respectively, who play along in real time, with results documenting their attempts to negotiate the pattern’s subtle and unusual changes.
Focal Music stems from a workshop in which Mark participated, led by British sound artist, composer and performer Jan Hendrickse, where Mark played the pattern generating system to drummer Patrik Jarlestam, who followed the pattern on a single snare drum.
We won’t go into the detail of the values set for those patterns, but they basically get quite tricky to play along with, especially when the timing intervals change, pushing the player to draw on their own musical training and sonic vocabulary to fill those quantum shifts, not in the pursuit of a “perfect recital”, but, rather to illustrate the difference between rigid systems, received knowledge and human nature.
Ostensibly, aesthetically, the pieces may bear no resemblance to Fell’s signature electronic palette or the rhythmic resolution of his dancefloor-oriented releases. However, thru the players’ attempts to keep in sync with Fell’s favoured, unconventional meters, and the array of strange timbral quirks that their efforts throw up, it’s possible to detect Fell’s conceptual input in each performance’s stringency and minimalist tension, and in the way in which they unflinchingly highlight what lies between illusion and reality, and the way we mis/interpret that space between.