Boomkat Product Review:
Blume once again expand our horizons with this remastered reissue of the sole recorded output of visual artist Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros, originally released as a small private pressing in Germany, 1970, and known by no more than a handful of heads in the years since. If you have an interest in minimalism, sacred music, the work of Fluxus, Tony Conrad, Henry Flynt, or indeed Eliane Radigue and Jani Christou - we urge you to dive head-first into this precious find from one of the best labels in the game.
Following a long but elusive line of Artist Records - records made by artists whose primary output exists within the context of visual rather than sound art (see Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwiters, Dieter Roth, Joseph Beuys etc), this highly absorbing work for organ, violin, percussion and triangle was recorded at a Franciscan church in Bensheim and follows a graphic notation system made by Muhlum-Pyrapheros (an image of which is included in the liner notes) which offered the players a common path for the recording. Originally intended as a musical accompaniment for a slide presentation of his work, Musica Nova Contemplativa is essentially an acoustic extension of his art, described by Bradford Bailey as “...a lost work from the height of musical minimalism”.
"Droning and tense, subtle melodic elements underpin sheets of tone and atonality, sculpting an incongruous sense of spacial ambience, the conception of Musica Nova Contemplativa, drew on a unique, unfixed compositional system, created by combining traditional musical notation with mobile and variable elements, expressed graphically as a system of coordinates which leave variation, interpretation, and improvisation up to the performer. Captured as eleven distinct movements, the work, with hindsight, can now be understood as lost, freestanding work of musical minimalism - echoing idiom’s roots in Fluxus and the raw temperaments of artists like Tony Conrad and Henry Flynt, threaded with touchstones in the work of Eliane Radigue, Giacinto Scelsi, and Jani Christou.
Born in Germany during 1941 and educated in philosophy and psychology, over the last half century the bulk of Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros’ artistic output has been largely oriented around painting, sculpture, and installation, each focused on the experiences of phenomena, environment, and light. Musica Nova Contemplativa, beginning as graphic score, composed in 1964, then interpreted and recorded by Mühlum-Pyrápheros on violin and Johann Georg Ickler on organ, three years later in a Franciscan church in Bensheim, is a logical extension of the artists broader concerns - seeking further territories of inclusive and expansive environments of experience. Intended as acoustic extensions of his paintings, the collective contents of the album are a metaphysical and esoteric rising in sound."