Guy Birkin – Tintinnabuli Mathematica Vol. I


CD – Runningonair

In recent evolutions of experimental music we have perceived a renewed interest in the “tintinnabuli style”, an approach to composition conceived by Arvo Pärt, an Estonian master of contemporary music. The term tintinnnabuli is intentionally onomatopoeic and refers to the repeated sound “tintin”. According to Part, an esteemed representative of minimalist music, the “three notes of a chord are like bells”. Guy Birkin has previously used this technique in “Mirror in Mirror”, a track on his first release for Runningonair, on the album Symmetry-Breaking (2011). Still on the same label, the English experimenter has here developed melodic parts (M-voices) using algorithms based on stocastic methods and entire sequences written in Mathematica – a calculation software based on symbolic mathematics that is employed in several fields: science, engineering, maths (of course) and computer science. The harmonic parts (T-voices) are made using specific algorithms that transform the melodic parts following the original “tintinnabuli” concepts. The goal of the program is clearly to experiment with a fusion between musical language and programming language, giving life to a new generative music. The results are pleasant sounds whose “geometrical” pureness are sweetened by some additional sounds apparently deliberately inserted at some key points. The settings are sweet and somehow melancholic and are evocative of carillon melodies and church music. A continuous jousting between abstraction and sentimentality artfully culminates in a range of suggestive and nuanced shades.


Guy Birkin – Tintinnabuli Mathematica