Boomkat Product Review:
Pre-eminent new music ensemble, Apartment House, realise seven works by pioneering, sound-sensitive, US composer, Pauline Oliveros, with vital Sheffield label, Another Timbre.
The late, great Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) was a leading light of the 20th century avant garde, whose innovative solo compositions for electronics and tape, and work with the Deep Listening Band, would expand perceptions of sound’s materiality and temporality with a radical focus on alternate tunings and timbres in Western contemporary music. ‘Sound Pieces’ revolves around seven of Oliveros' pieces composed 1975-1996 - a mix of text scores for open instrumentation, and a seven-movement work for violin, cello and piano according to specific pitches - interpreted by Apartment House, who are renowned for performing technically and imaginatively challenging scores by myriad pioneers of C.20th experimental avant garde composition.
Under the direction of Anton Lukoszevieze, the 12-piece Apartment House ensemble interpret Oliveros’ works with acoustic instruments in a strong primer on the range and depth of her work.Their starkly atmospheric use of negative space in a take on ‘Quintessential’ (1996), and the seat-edge deep listening encouraged by ‘From unknown silences’ (1996) highlights Oliveros’ work in relation to Cageian minimalism as much as her position as a godmother of "ambient" music - even though her prescribed "deep listening" comes from the opposite end of the conceptual spectrum. On the other hand, the dense clouds of lush/dreadful dissonance and complex timbral shifts to ‘Horse Sings From Cloud’ (1975), and the cranky gnarl to their take on ‘David Tudor’ (1980) characterise a core thrust of her work toward Eastern tunings and rhymelodic percussion, with implicit links to vanguard musics from Lucy Railton to GY!BE and Michael Ranta.
All her circles bleed most beautifully on the 7-part ‘Peace / Tree’ (1984), where Anton Lukoszevieze (cello), Mark Knoop piano), and Mira Benjamin (violin) play to her specified pitches in a floating chamber trio that brings to life her score with elusive melodies melting into her richly dream-textured play of timbre.