Music Reviews

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Artist: Sébastien Roux
Title: Inevitable Music #1: Variations On Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #260
Format: 12"
Label: Future Audio Graphics (@)
I was unfamiliar with this French composer and the artist whose work he interprets. According to the label, this album 'employs a group of discrete digital and analog sounds (sustained/pulsed sine tone, sawtooth wave, voice, etc.) that each correspond to one of 20 shapes used in creating LeWitt's instructional wall drawing. Once assigned, these discrete sounds combine to create elegant and rigorous compositions that encourage the listener to reconsider LeWitt's notion that 'the idea becomes a machine that makes the art.'' This sounds much better in theory than in practice. If you remember those old speaker calibration records / CDs that would state '60 Mz sine wave,' and then proceed to run a 60 Mz sine wave before moving on to another waveform, you already have an idea of what you will be hearing. We open with a female voice announcing that we will be hearing sine wave tones and then we hear the tones. Next, we have sung pitch, then square tones, then a combination of sine waves and sung pitch, then sawtooth waves. From an academic perspective, I get what Roux is doing. I get how the ascending pitch and descending pitch is supposed to correspond to the line drawings, and the liner notes are instructive in how to decode this music. But from the standpoint of someone who wants to listen to music, it wasn't very engaging. Side 2 becomes a bit more interesting with the combinations, with 'Variation 7' the most complex and interesting of the tracks. Still, this album is unlikely to spend much time on my turntable. This may be interesting as part of an art installation, but it doesn't really translate well to your living room (unless you happen to be a Sol LeWitt collector). That said, if you like your music really minimal, this may be up your alley. This is mainly for those with a deep interest in conceptual art. This album is limited to 350 copies.



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