Decomposition Study review

By Frans de Waard on Vital Weekly #1372

   “More theory (if you allow me to call that) comes from Ed Williams. I quote his information in full: “Decomposition Study is a collaborative process. The instrument featured here is an arciorgano, a special microtonal organo di legno with two manually operated bellows and 36-key octaves across two manuals, constructed according to Nicola Vicentino’s designs from 1555. The notes of the music, written according to the rules of canonic contrapunto alla mente, are passed between two organists while four other musicians disrupt and amplify the organ’s airflow, acting similarly to cellular enzymes in decaying organisms during the decompositional process called autolysis. The music is decomposed as it is played, re-composed as it is heard.” The music was recorded “on the arciorgano and amplified through a 6-faced “Cube” speaker”. Check Bandcamp and follow the links to YouTube, and you will get an idea. For me, it was illuminating, as based on playing the music, I wouldn’t have known this. The music sounds indeed organ-like, but unlike your typical organ-drone record, the music here shifts back and forth with an organ sound, and as I saw, this is due to the players adjusting the outcome from the pipes by hand and the two organists quickly changing tones and notes. Because this is an acoustic instrument, we also hear the mechanism, adding an interesting electro-acoustic texture to the music. There is (again?) some strangely orchestral music crossing with improvised music here, and it is (again!) some highly captivating music here. It is both quiet and unnerving, and this piece highly contemplative, even when it is never in the same place for a long time. (FdW)
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