Arnold Dreyblatt's 'Resonant Relations'

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A visual aspect dominates the works of the American-born, Berlin-based composer Arnold Dreyblatt. Notes conspire to form textures and colors that bring touches of multimedia to one specific medium over the course of deliberate and meditative repetitions. Unsurprisingly, Dreyblatt is also a visual artist.

In just two tracks totaling roughly 45 minutes, Dreyblatt’s newest disc, Resonant Relations is tantamount to the composer’s evocative aesthetic. The title track builds on a single tone, the convergence point for the instruments of Dublin’s adventurous Crash Ensemble, in a means of coming together that rings similar to Varèse’s Tuning Up, diving into an equally Varèsian play on timbres and rhythms. Dreyblatt’s unique tuning system weaves commonalities and differences between Crash’s instruments—from harpsichords to wooden flutes to metal pieces—together as one. The major feat here, too, is Dreyblatt’s ability to extend this stream-of-sonic-consciousness for over half an hour, moving like Joyce from one thought to the next, always in control but at the same time beguilingly abstract and surreal.

The pairing to Resonant Relations, twentyfive chords in twentyfive in ninety four variations, is as ambitious as its title suggests—once again focusing on Dreyblatt’s singular means of tuning that employs unique harmonics and pitches to create hypnotically unsettling chords. Here, 25 of these chords are repeated in 95 distinct ways. What could be an exercise in tedium is, at the hands of Crash Ensemble, a meditative vinyasa through the composer’s inimitable sound world.

Arnold Dreyblatt: Resonant Relations
Crash Ensemble
Cantaloupe Records
Available at

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