Junto Project 0282: Berio’s Bach [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Humans have long been fascinated by destruction. It could be argued, in fact, that the desire to break things is a fundamental requirement for survival. The first tools invented by humans 2.6 million years ago comprised the earliest known stage of technological innovation. Thus did human capability advance through a process of fracture, limiting the lifespan of the tools we created by making them susceptible to damage through repeated use.

Rock-breakers 2.6 million years ago understood that the way materials broke apart defined their use. We build structures out of wood and steel because of their strength. We also use wood and steel to create such artistic objects as jewelry, furniture and sculpture. One could argue that buildings represent that which is “structurally significant” and art exists purely for “decoration.” It is in the humanities, however, from which we derive understanding on what it means to be alive. Judging by those who participate in the Junto every week, we can all agree that cultural pursuits are of critical significance.

For this piece, Suss Müsik sought to blur the line between percussion-as-spine and percussion-as-filler. A simple rhythm is played on wood blocks as random pieces of wood and metal are struck at varying intervals. Reed instruments contribute to the slowly evolving din, along with a circular piano phrase that attempts to keep along with the base tempo. Just as things seem to line up, the opening rhythm retreats and abandons the piano, who must now fend for itself. The function of wood and metal evolves from “structure” to “decoration” in turn, despite there being no change in tempo, sequence or notation.

The piece is titled Conchoidal, named after the type of sharpening or break that results in a smooth, rounded surface.

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