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Messe de nostre dame: Kyrie 
Guillaume de Machaut

The Messe de Nostre Dame of the great fourteenth-century poet-composer Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) is the earliest musical treatment of the Mass by a single composer. In this first movement, Machaut spins out a vast web of music from just three little lines of text: "Kyrie eleison / Christe elesion / Kyrie eleison." (As the first and simplest unit of the Ordinary Mass, the Kyrie has always provoked the most sublime and inventive approaches among composers who have set it to music.) The labyrinthine polyphonic weft of voices, with its jarring dissonances and microtonal inflections, and the raspy, almost guttural vocal timbre of this performance by the Ensemble Organum, create an effect at once visceral and otherworldly—an atmosphere far removed from the stereotypical images of cherubic sweetness with which we are likely to associate medieval music.

Source: Guilaume de Machaut, Messe de Nostre Dame, performed by Ensemble Organum

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Played 553 time(s).

June 03, 2013, 12:25pm

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Audio

Kabutogani: “Kuril Probe”

From the album Vector (2010)

Kabutogani (Japanese for “horseshoe crab”) is a solo project of an anonymous French electronic music producer. The 2010 album Vector (spelled, in an apparent nod to Soviet Futurism, in Cyrillic on the album’s cover) was released on the renowned German label Mille Plateaux, which has championed the genre of “glitch music" since its release of the first installment in the Clicks & Cuts series in 2000.

The sound palette of Vector will be familiar to aficionados of the genre: piercing high-frequency sine waves, swelling white-noise washes, mechanical clicks and whirs, and sequenced percussive bursts construct a musical mise-en-scene that is both evocative and forbiddingly abstract. To my ears, the album recalls the meticulously controlled sound-world of German composer Carsten Nicolai (AKA Alva Noto) or the somewhat noisier acoustic repertoire of the Finnish noise duo Pan Sonic

Well polished and at times even borderline formulaic, Vector works within a relatively narrow ambitus of aesthetic effect. Like a laser focused on a single point, it bores into your ears with its unremitting machinic rhythms and brittle digital timbres. In a track such as “Kuril Probe,” the elements come together to create a delicately structured sonic experience that, for all its “post-digital” coldness, attains an almost classical state of equilibrium.

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Played 167 time(s).

November 18, 2012, 12:34pm

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