Refreshingly, Ophir Ilzetzki is very open about the fact that Symphony No. 1 is an intuitive composition, not affiliated with any deep underlying theory or concept, at least not consciously. Instead it’s a collection of four long works in which Ilzetzki expresses a variety of emotions through the medium of electronic composition- drone, oscillation, electric hum, fuzz, rumble, whirr, click. The result is not technically symphonic, by the book, but it’s realised on a broad scale with raw emotion that makes the name somehow fitting nevertheless.
“God Sent” is a series of introspective hum notes that sets a fairly minimalist tone with confidence. “Emma Carmel” feels a little more theatrical and impulsive-driven, making solid use of what I think may be low vocal noises howled round into incomprehension, as though we were listening to a slowly told incomprehensible story from inside a robot womb.
“To Heal With Blood” is initially much angier, opening with shifting noise wall built from quite grating motor-like noises, but surprises you by calming down promptly, remaining tense but more sinister rather than aggressive, revolvingly slowly round a rhythmic throb. 22-minute-long final piece “Of No Input” has a similar pulse at its heart, but delves deeper and lower and sparser in its approach, at times bordering on inaudible, yielding again comparisons with a womb scenario and the mysterious ever-present heartbeat you would hear. As it unfolds, this pulse somehow transforms into a more rapid, again motor-like affair, before escalating back into a sonic wall for a finale.
Despite being called Symphony No. 1 this is far from the composer’s first work. He has been composing pieces for two decades, predominantly for more traditional instrumental ensembles- but this appears to be his first foray into pure stripped-down electronic work, and I would definitely regard it as a success.