Music Reviews

Artist: Spyros Polychronopoulos
Title: Live Electronic Music
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Room40
I've listed the format here as 'download only' here, but it's a little unclear, as I'll now attempt to explain.

“Live Electronic Music” is an arguably cynical deconstruction of what constitutes electronic music performance. It’s literally music generated by a computer inside a polycarbonate box, which has been loaded with custom software and a sound effects library, and programmed to randomly select five samples at once and play them in parallel across the stereo landscape, whilst applying alternating randomised filters. There’s no “music” in the traditional sense, just a random collection of layered noises. The box could run for thousands of years and logically never repeat itself.

Principally, Room 40 are selling 250 copies of the box itself, for around $75 each. So it's a music-making device you're buying, not a recorded music product, and I'm unclear whether you can also buy recordings of it.

So the recording I was sent is an arbitrary 22-minute slice of the box’s output recorded earlier in 2017. Generally with online sound effects libraries you often find a mixture of very long ambiences lasting a minute or more, mixed in with super-short percussive sounds lasting only a second or so, and that library nature is discernible here. At times it’s rapid-fire, stupendeously glitchy and harsh- at other times it’s a more mellow soundscape of hum and drone, though any single drone never seems to last more than twenty seconds before something else cuts in.

It’s an unusual piece of work. It would probably be more appealing to witness the box in situ in a gallery or exhibition space, coupled with the notion that what you’re hearing won’t ever repeat. Surprisingly the press and publicity material for the release didn’t include a picture of the box itself, so it’s hard to tell whether it would be nice to look at. As a piece of recorded audio, it has its enticing moments, but devoid of information about the concept behind it, it’s arguably a bit too scatterbrained and rough-edged to make it a release you’re likely to return to for many repeat listens.

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