Like Pearls by Morehshin Allahyari is an animated and interactive mash-up of the Farsi spam Allahyari receives in her mailbox.
CD + Book, Mego eMEGO 118, Urbanomic UF13, 2010
It’s less and less common to find music labels brave enough to release and actually invest in concepts and experimentation, giving them proper form as products. Although realized with support from public funding, this work is a nice exception. Florian Hecker is quite well-known for being a composer both playful and restlessly investigative of conceptual topics, not afraid to delve into fringe fields of knowledge and composition. In Speculative Solution he has pursued a joined investigation with philosopher Quentin Meillassoux about “whether concepts of absolute contingency and hyperchaos offer a rigorous new alternative to the employment of chance and randomness in avant-garde composition.” This is the type of music that needs courage and involvement to be enjoyed or appreciated for its underlying scientific assumptions. Here there are very quiet passages that alternate with more intense moments that he labels “micro-chronics”, constructed from dynamic pulses with high-pitched frequencies that challenge the listeners ability to listen continuously. The author suggests listening through speakers (“headphones are not advised”), which is good advice. The sounds would feel even more abstract without the 160-page booklet of unconventional theoretical texts by Robin Mackay, Quentin Meillassoux and Elie Ayache. The presence and uses of the five tiny metal balls included in the blue box that houses the work is not explained, but they seem to fit perfectly with the concept of unpredictability and help to make this a speculative release, very much worthy of exploration.