Monday, 9 October 2017

Rhythmus Arp Ensemble, from 1983 (composed in 1975-6)

The first track gives you a nice taste of this undeservedly unknown gem:

Check out the terrifyingly chromatic dissonant atmosphere we get here, so much more adventurous than typical minimal music which is sometimes an ejecta of notes in the key of C (hey composer don't bother using up too much music notation paper here, you're just re-using the same 5 stupid notes bro), the most ludicrous key to compose in, equally accessible in fact to my 8 year old son in his pianistic explorations.  Note how later in the piece the percussive pounding leads to sustained operatically sung notes without leaving the minor seconds behind, and therefore interest, thankfully.  In fact the inappropriateness of the notes she is singing on top of what sounds to me like an E minor chord is remarkable. But it works, as usual when we are dealing with genius-level composition.  Even as classical music this achieves a very high satisfaction level for me because of the addition of the electric keyboard which provides that fireside-like warmth always lacking in the genre.

Because of the name one might conclude that there are Arps as artists here.  You can see on discogs the information relating to this.  In fact there are two: Professor Jochen Arp plays saxes, flute and clarinet normally, on this record only credited with the latter 2 of 3.  On the other hand, compositions and keyboards both are handled by presumed younger brother (born 1950) Klaus Arp, who was also conductor and professor.  What a shame they didn't make more records as their dynamic here is just exceptional.  It's obvious from the first listen (and to the last one too) that we are dealing with a Terry Riley influence hybridized with more electric keyboard fusion like recent Dane Finn Savery.  Or, taking away the guitar and more fusionary outpourings, you could say this sounds like Soft Machine 3's Out-Bloody-Rageous by Ratledge, of course, while strolling down Terry Riley Avenue.  With the addition of chamber instrumentation.  And let's not forget the wiener schniztel.  And potato salad, luckily this time with mayo.

Notice that the compositions are from the period 1975-1976, which explains a lot.  How I wish they had made more, these 2 Arps...  Anyways, it's fantastic music, and there's not much more to add to that.



    So I don't want to spoil surprises but I guess today I'll do what I don't want to do and spoil them anyways, because you can look forward to, this autumnal month, a host of interesting material which will surely keep you tuning in to our program in preference to silly youtube with, possibly, the greatest of all the college band albums, at least in reputation, then some more highly sought-after library material, sure to please the most deadened and apathetic soul, some unexpectedly fantastic fusion, some rarities only known to collectors but ready to be unleashed upon the innocent naive music fan, and then the usual on this blog: albums discovered by myself and my far-flung correspondents from all over the world that will feature the rarest but best music yet undiscovered by mankind-- not womankind in general, unfortunately, or I probably wouldn't be writing this right now, too busy with females-- which is sadly not the case.... oops, if my wife is reading this right now: I am so happy about this current state of affairs for me and I pray it will never end.... can I have some more potato salad now? please?

  2. This is a nice one. I've never seen or heard it before. Thank you for posting and saving it from oblivion.

  3. Not till you finish your wiener schniztel!
    I love this in a dark room on my way to slumberland.
    Thank you Julian

  4. thank you so much it's magical !

  5. I enjoyed your description of this. Hats off.