Boomkat Product Review:
Posthumous testament to the peerless vision of Alvin Lucier, split with a work by Jordan Dykstra (Dirty Projectors, Atlas Sound), who also hailed from the same Middletown, CT where Lucier wrote his seminal piece ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’.
Linked by locale and a creative friendship forged during Lucier’s final years, the late, great composer and his youthful acolyte speak to a mutual pursuit of the predictable and the unexpected in their work on ‘Out of our Hands’. Both artists spent formative time in Middletown, Connecticut, perhaps most legendarily with Lucier’s recording of ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’, which was made in 1969 at the house referenced in his piece ‘Corner Church and High’ (2019), while Dykstra likewise nods to his address in the punning title of ’32 Middle Tones’, which also refers to his piece’s use of harmonic microtonality. While cleft by generations, they arrive at mutual, open-ended conclusions, respectively, with durational works that demand sustained pitches from the performers, Ordinary Effects, and open up uncanny psychoacoustic space for inhabitation and investigation by keener listeners.
“This is music that gently gives the listener a sense of predictability but always in an unexpected (and subtly indeterminate) shade. Speaking of shade, the album’s cover photo was taken in 2019 in Alvin’s backyard in Middletown. Alvin and Jordan sit with similar demeanors in front of his favorite tree — a crooked aspen which early on looked to be doomed — but which he would often saunter over to spend time with, giving it whispers of blessings and encouraging words.The world was blessed with Alvin’s presence and hopefully this album will whisper to you and yours.
“With Alvin’s recent passing I was overwhelmed with messages and calls from friends, collaborators, and his former students. Everyone had a heavy heart, no doubt, but were grateful for the memories and their gift to be around Alvin during his lifetime of prolific dedication to the arts, his fascination with poetic storytelling through scientifically-inspired minimalism, and his calm and warmhearted spirit. In his last few years on earth, Alvin was busier than ever — brainstorming new ideas, creating new pieces, and planning big things. While he was here, he was alive, and may his music — and spirit — live on forever, spreading from his corner of Church and High (where he recorded his seminal piece I am sitting in a room) to every corner, concert hall, and loudspeaker in the world. - Jordan Dykstra”