April 6, 2008

Iannis Xenakis - Electronic Music 1997

Artist: Iannis Xenakis
Album: Electronic Music
Year: 1997

Although equations and formalistic ideas form an important component of Xenakis' musical style, they do not overwhelm it. As music became his sole profession, and especially in the 1970s & 80s, Xenakis' music takes on a more instinctive quality. Indeed, Varèse had long been one of his models, and his music possesses a similar kind of raw or even elemental energy. One thing Xenakis' music rarely lacks is forward momentum, moving as it does from one "place" to another in sometimes bewildering fashion.

To some degree, it is the use of mathematical processes which allows Xenakis to discover patterns and communicable musical ideas out of a totally unrestricted musical vocabulary. The latter is an important aspect of Xenakis' work, and perhaps the main reason for its broad reception: He is not limited by instrumental combinations, by tempered scales, by scales at all or by simultaneity. Into such a sound world, even a stochastic process can inject some audible stability. In essence, traditional notions of musical structure are thrown out, only to be constructed anew, perhaps accounting for the raw creative energy the music possesses. There is an abundance of rhythmic energy, quickly changing harmonies, and usually a strongly visceral quality. (medieval music xenakis)

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