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Many Times...
Album: 01 Feb 2004
By: JoelChadabe

Joel Chadabe's CD, Many Times ... (the ellipsis is the name of the performer), features Benjamin Chadabe (bowed cymbals and gongs), Chris Mann (recitation), David Gibson (cello), Jan Williams (conga, djembé, and hand-held percussion), and Esther Lamneck (tárogató). Each performer interacts with different versions of Chadabe's Kyma live processing algorithms.

Discussion (Descriptions, reviews, discussion):

Featuring excellent performances and a thought-provoking paradigm-shift in the roles of composer/performer/computer, this all-Kyma CD on the EMF label is beautifully produced and includes generous liner notes (including the full text of Chris Mann's Theories of Surplus Value III).

Chadabe collaborates with (rather than dictates to) his performers, inviting them to become his partners in exploring and interacting with the electronics. The name Many Times... is in fact the name of the environment, and the name of the performer replaces the ellipsis in each realization of the piece. Chadabe writes: ...the electronic instrument is an interactive instrument... 'mutually influential'... Rather than 'play' the instrument, the performer 'influences' the instrument. And because the instrument responds by doing more than the performer has played, the instrument also influences the performer, providing the performer with something to react to as a cue for what to play next.

Two stochastically varying environments are alternately performed by five different musicians with startlingly individualistic results. Benjamin Chadabe starts things off with rich masses of sound over a drone, at times crystaline, at times vocal, at times symphonic and piercing.

Chris Mann's bursts of syllables and wildly fluctuating amplitudes and pitches are matched by Kyma's lively humorous stacatto chattering, stuttering and wailing, converging serendipitously on the word "memory". Perhaps unintentionally, Mann's text describes all of the music on the album: "An input that involves an output, and input that evolves an output..."

David Gibson's cello provides the clearest example of call and response interaction. Airy harmonics are answered by female vocals or strings. Lush romantic cello lines evoke booming symphonic horns in response. Back and forth conversations alternate with Gibson playing romantic sustained melodies over rich sustained electronic textures.

Every hit of Jan Williams conga engenders flurries of cloned drums of different sizes scampering across the stereo field. Wood blocks become ice crystals, bells morph into birds, or accelerating slaps and creaking sounds with occasional ghostly metallic pitches deeply buried in deep reverb.

Ritualistic organ sounds are evoked by Ester Lamneck's tárogató. She finds wailing strings and vocal howls buried within the resonators.

Perhaps even more than a composer, Chadabe is a philosopher and he has some very interesting things to say about art and our relationship with computers: That the electronic system extends the performers into multiple sound images of themselves exemplifies one of the core ideas of this composition, that electronic technology extends us beyond what we can otherwise do and what we otherwise are.

-- CarlaScaletti - 05 Mar 2004

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