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Weirdly Eleh-sounding tones on the reliably out there Edition Wandweiser Records, keeping it real for but uncannily synthetic-sounding with John McCowen’s ‘Mundanas I-V’ (1986) studies for Clarinet, performed by McCowen and Madison Greenstone
The title ‘Mundana’ comes from Boethius’ (427-524 AD) printed work on ancient Greek music, and relates to the 6th century Roman philosopher’s ideas on “music of the spheres”, itself based on Greek beliefs in the way arithmetic and music are entwined. It was one of the first musical works to be printed in Venice between 1491 and 1492, and was instrumental in helping medieval authors during the 9th century understand Greek music.
In John McCowen’s ‘Mundanas I-V’, he explores the perceptive limits of Bb clarinets, demi clarinets, and BBb contrabass clarinets in a manner that we suspect relates to Boethius’ ideas on inaudible music, or tones that are felt rather than heard. Although we can hear the sounds produced by the clarinets in ‘McCowen’s ‘Mundanasa’, they barely sound acoustic and appear more like ringing oscillators in an Eleh piece. The first four pieces hover around about the 5-6 minute mark, and present some deeply odd, air-squeezed tones that curdle in mid-flight or shimmer with quivering harmonics, while the final, 11 minute part ‘V’ will hopefully baffle some real acoustic stick-in-the-muds and electronic types equally.