“GML Variations” reviewed by Vital Weekly

The Robotic Gamelan of Casa de Musica is just as cool as you’d imagine it is. In fact, Google it right now. Check out some photos of the thing, then meet me back here… see, isn’t that a neat thing? Gamelans are cool… robots are cool… and so a robotic gamelan is very cool. Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais are the composers behind @c and the Cronica label. In 2018, they were commissioned to write a piece called “GML 123” for the Robotic Gamelan to play; their generative digital composition activated the gamelan and introduced new sounds into the space. This album includes that piece and also four studio-created variations (the title is quite literal) and a coda. Because this is, essentially, the same piece repeated a few times, I found that it works better listened to one track at a time rather than all in one sitting. The pace and density remain similar from start to finish, which suggested to me that “GML Variations” is better considered as a collection of individual pieces than an hour+ single experience. But gamelan music is just so lovely, listening to the ringing percussion steadily morph into elongated digital smearing tones is a lot of fun. The 4th variation is my favourite; it’s the most removed from its recognizable source, 30 minutes of slow liquid volleys with hints of ringing bells and reverberant acoustic space. (HS)

via Vital Weekly

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