Electronic music legend Éliane Radigue is turning 90(!) in late January, and will finally release her very first organ work titled ‘Occam XXV‘ on March 4, 2022. Stay tuned, find the full story below.
‘Occam XXV’ inaugurates the very special record series of music exclusively commissioned by Organ Reframed, the organ-only, one of a kind experimental music festival, carefully curated by composer/performer, London’s Union Chapel music director Claire M Singer — you can hear her works via this legendary experimental label called Touch too.
The idea of Organ Reframed dates back to 2006 when I was commissioned to write my first organ piece. At the time I was mostly composing in the studio and was struck by the vast breadth of the instrument and how capable it was of creating timbres that were similar to what I was working with electronically. The lush acoustic quality of the sound resonating in the space was incredible and the sonic possibilities seemed endless.— Claire M Singer
Paris-born Éliane Radigue is for sure one of the most innovative and influential living composers, from her early electronic explorations until her acoustic works of the last 15 years; her radical reflection on sound and listening, her radical working methods. All shaped by musique concrète, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, her explorations with the early modular synth ARP 2500 in US, and Tibetan Buddhism — remember her ‘Songs of Milarepa’?
‘Occam XXV‘ has been premiered in 2018, and then played again as a private session in 2020 at London’s Organ Reframed headquarter Union Chapel, thus finally recorded.
As its title suggests, ‘Occam XXV‘ is the latest chapter of Radigue’s Occam Ocean broader series of works she’s putting out in the last decade, performed by various, extremely experienced yet sensitive instrumentalists. At this time: pianist, organist, composer, improviser, artistic director of the Orchestra of New Musical Creation, Experimentation and Improvisation (ONCEIM) Frédéric Blondy — his sophomore contribution to Radigue’s Occam Ocean.
We live in a universe filled with waves. Not only between the Earth and the Sun but all the way down to the tiniest microwaves and inside it is the minuscule band that lies between the 60 Hz and the 12,000 to 15,000 Hz that our ears turn into sound. There are many wavelengths in the ocean too and we also come into contact with it physically, mentally and spiritually. That explains the title of this body of work which is called Occam Ocean.— Éliane Radigue
The ‘Occam’ part comes from William of Ockham. His most widely known idea is his celebrated theoretical concept Occam’s razor. Simple is always better. That’s the foundation of the key principle behind our work. When something isn’t really working adding to it makes an even bigger mess. Instead, you have to see what you can take out to make things clearer, cleaner and more accessible. Then there are the technical elements. Obviously, you need the fundamentals – without them, there’s no music. Fundamentals are a key building block but it’s all the work that goes on around them that’s important.— Éliane Radigue
The main aim of this work is to focus on how the partials are dealt with. Whether they come in the form of micro beats, pulsations, harmonics, subharmonics – which are extremely rare but have a transcendent beauty – bass pulsations – the highly intangible aspect of sound. That’s what makes it so rich.— Éliane Radigue
Since its 2016 first steps, Organ Reframed has been featuring serious acts like Low, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Philip Jeck, Phill Niblock, Mark Fell, Mira Calix, Darkstar, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Sarah Davachi, hailing from London, ending up also in Amsterdam and Moscow. Watch out: ‘Organ Reframed’ will be back this new year on September 16–18 since 2018 with Abul Mogard, Ipek Gorgun, Anna von Hausswolff, Claire M Singer X Cabaret Voltaire’s Chris Watson — feel free to request for guest list.
Meanwhile, Union Chapel organ is almost 150 years old now, one of the finest in the world with a fully working hydraulic blowing system: completely hidden from the listeners, allowing to focus SOLELY on the music itself, for real.
I felt so fortunate to have had the time to experiment and explore the instrument and realised perhaps the reason there wasn’t a huge amount of experimental works being written for organ was because they are mainly housed in churches and concert halls so you really need to know someone with a key. From that point on I started composing almost exclusively for organ and since launching Organ Reframed in 2016 I am now able to give fellow artists the opportunity to explore what an incredible instrument it is.— Claire M Singer
Artist. Éliane Radigue, Frédéric Blondy
Title. Occam XXV
Format. CD, digital
Organ Reframed – March 4, 2022
1. Occam XXV
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