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Arnold Dreyblatt

Music from the Resting State (LP)

Label: Some Fine Legacy

Format: LP

Genre: Sound Art

In stock


Mega Tip! **Edition of 300 copies, comes with insert** Some Fine Legacy is pleased to announce Arnold Dreyblatt’s Music from the Resting State. Though widely celebrated for the pioneering high-energy exploration of alternate tunings in his Orchestra of Excited Strings, Dreyblatt’s parallel work as an artist over the last forty years has received less attention in experimental music circles. This LP is drawn from a major installation work, The Resting State, exhibited at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in 2019, in which Dreyblatt brought together sound, video, lighting and text to investigate the titular ‘resting state’ and the history of neuro-psychological research on it. This concept is used in neurological research to name a state in which the brain’s ‘default mode network’ is particularly active, occurring primarily when not engaged in specific tasks and studied by placing participants in low-stimulus environments and questioning them on their mental activity (or using other gauges of this, such as free association with word prompts).

Cognitive scientists have determined two alternating moments within this resting state: one in which memory and future ideation are dominant and one in which we are aware of the environment (and sometimes bored or restless). The states are thought to alternate roughly every 60 seconds. This pattern provided the temporal framework for Dreyblatt’s exhibition, which borrowed from scientific studies of the resting state an 800hz beep used to jolt participants awake for questioning. Heard at random intervals between 57 and 63 seconds, the beep cued an alternation between light and darkness in the exhibition space. Accompanying a script read by a female voice derived from scientific studies, the audio component of the installation was a delicate composition for electronics, heard here without text.

Produced at the renowned experimental music studio of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and with the assistance of his long-term collaborator Konrad Sprenger, Music from the Resting State is chiefly composed of carefully tuned sine tones, gently overlapping in momentary harmonic interactions. Alongside these long tones are heard slowly pulsing bass frequencies and an occasional woosh of tuned resonance derived from Dreyblatt’s first purpose-built instrument, the ‘miniature princess pianoforte’. While consistent in its harmonic rhythm, density, and overall effect, the music is without exact repetition, seemingly static yet always in flux. At its irregular intervals, the 800hz beep intervenes to wake us from our contemplative immersion in the drifting tones. The resulting listening experience is a fascinating one: at each beep, we are momentarily jolted into close listening before the drifting formlessness of the music allows us to surrender again to a kind of daydream. As the piece elegantly unfolds across its forty minutes, it manages both to enchant immediately and to occasion an uncomfortable, radically self-reflective listening.

Cat. number: SFL 009
Year: 2024

First edition of 300 copies with insert