Sunday, July 07, 2024

Joel Chadabe - Emergence [Intelligent Arts / Arts Subtilior]

Released on May 31st, 2k24 as a collaborational joint venture between Intelligent Arts and Ars Subtilior is "Emergence", the latest in a series of retrospective compilation albums covering works of composer x electronic music pioneer Joel Chadabe who passed away in 2021. Spanning a musical ark from all the way back in 1967 to quasi-contemporary pieces written and realized in 2k20 over the course of 79 minutes this fifth part of an ongoing werkschau showcases Chadabe's distinct outlook on composition as laying out a series of what he refers to as 'activities' - a.k.a. a series of tonal events which leave room for decisions and determinations to be assessed by the individual performer - which are in parts assisted by or responded to by (early) electronic music systems, an idea which appeared very early in his works and studies of and in this field. Despite this theoretical and quite conceptual background pieces like the opener "Diversion" from 1967 offer a fascinating and dynamic tension in their contrast of near silence and cascading pianos whereas the subsequent "Prelude To Naples" evokes memories of experimental score compositions in the early days of cinema and "Street Scene" brings forth a fascinating, danger-heralding form of urban melancholia paired with Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry. Furthermore we see 1976s "Settings For Spirituals" exploring the expansion of the vocal spectrum by electronic x computerized means to a fascinating, yet outerworldly effect, 1978s "Playthings" probably is the closest to what resembles ethereal Synth / Cosmic / ProtoAmbient on this album in terms of its floating nature and predominantly electronic soundscapes, the four sub-sets of "Rhythms For Computer & Percussion" provide an interesting contrast between solemn and meditative as well as uplifting and playful rhythm signatures whereas the closing "One World 2 (Excerpt)" even incorporates multiple layers of Field Recordings in which both tender piano melodies as well as electronic treatments are embedded just to name a few. Quite a complex and deep journey in more than five decades of an artists extended body of work, this is.

Album artwork on Instagram!


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