All of your favorites, in one place.
The dark interpreter Stephen O'Malley ov Sunn O))) presents his towering orchestral composition Guidés, commissioned by French 35-piece improv orchestra ONCEIM -- l'Orchestre de Nouvelles Créations, Expérimentations et Improvisation Musicales -- and released thru Demdike Stare's DDS label. In early 2014 O'Malley was approached by pianist and composer Frédéric Blondy to write a work for the orchestra, which is made up of exceptional musicians from the fields of contemporary, jazz, experimental, improvisation, and classical. Understandably intimidated by the prospect, but encouraged to "just be punk rock about it," the preternaturally gifted composer has conceived a technically demanding -- for the players, at least -- and richly rewarding long-form drone piece intently focused on harmonic experimentation and overtone study. During its 35-minute lifespan,Gruidés requires the musicians to sustain pitches for several minutes (which is difficult enough for strings, and a real feat of endurance for woodwind), yielding spectra of eliding dissonance rent in sliding tone clusters and lucent geometries punctuated by a similar whipcrack percussion to that used in Sunn O)))'s 2014 collaboration with Scott Walker. It makes great use of the acoustic qualities of Saint Merry church in central Paris, as captured in the recording of IRCAM'sAugustin Muller and mastered by Matt Colton with a detached spaciousness evocatively distilled in Jean-Luc Verna's cover art. It's an incredibly immersive piece that comes highly recommended if you're into the work of Phill Niblock, Alvin Lucier, Ellen Fullman, Harley Gaber, and, indeed, Sunn O))).