“Gamelan Descending a Staircase” reviewed by Whisperin And Hollerin

Gamelan Descending a Staircase
It seems appropriate that Cronica’s 100th release should be something that’s as unique and as arty (for wont of a better word) as Arturas Bumšteinas’ ‘Gamelan Descending a Staircase’. Its title is a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 classic modernist painting ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’, while its composition and formulation – a development of a surround-sound performance / sonic exhibition using a large collection of Indonesian Gamelan orchestra instruments (which resemble lidded cooking pots) – corresponds with the avant-garde associations forever tied to Duchamp.

It’s an intriguing work. The album consists of a single track with a running time of some fifty minutes (the download includes an additional track in the form of the 12-minute ‘Sad Young Man on a Train’, but lacks the magnificent gatefold cover of the CD release).

Chanking chimes clatter and clang, rhythms fleetingly conglomerate and disperse. Moments of charming musicality flicker and fade into discordance, and the track gradually shifts in tone and texture. Incidental sounds – drones, hums, clattering percussion and crashing gongs – add dimensionality to the sound as it transitions to a blunt metallic clang by the 40-minute mark, the soft tones having shifted toward abrasion. The piece finally resolves with a diminishment, and finally, slowly, a dissipation, and, ultimately, silence. Christopher Nosnibor

via Whisperin And Hollerin

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