Guy Birkin - Tintinnabuli Mathematica Vol. I RM014
Guy has already demonstrated his interest in the compositional techniques of Arvo Pärt on the track Mirror in Mirror on his first Runningonair release Symmetry-Breaking. On the new album he takes this a lot further by producing 11 pieces composed using Pärt’s tinntinabuli method. Guy explains this in more detail in the sleeve notes reproduced here:
“Tintinnabuli Mathematica is a generative music project in which melodic parts (M-voices) are created using algorithms based on stochastic methods and integer sequences, written in the Mathematica programming language. Harmonic parts (T-voices) are created using algorithms that transform the melodic parts, based on Arvo Pärt's tintinnabuli method of composition. The M-voices in tracks 1 to 6 are created using stochastic methods including equal-weighted random choice and random walks. Tracks 7 to 11 use M-voices based on integer sequences that are fractal and chaotic., which are arranged on modes of the A natural minor scale. The T-voices take one of the 3 notes (1, 2 or 3) in the scale's triad, either above (+) or below (−) the M-voice, so there are 6 unique T-voices that can be created for each M-voice: T+1, T+2, T+3, T−1,T−2, and T−3. In this scheme, T+4 is identical to T+1 but one octave higher. Whereas Pärt uses only 4 of the voices in his work (T+1, T+2, T−1, and T−2), Tintinnabuli Mathematica uses all 6. The aim of this project is to explore the relationship between this musical language and the programming language by experimenting with the algorithmic possibilities within this method of generative music composition.“
In terms of sonic palate, Guy matches the purity of the ideas with pure, almost sinusoidal, percussive tones similar to a glockenspiel or toy piano. Occasionally additional sounds appear in key places. While the technique gives the album a consistent core, Guy has managed to encompass a surprisingly broad range of moods, ranging from a childlike delight to a darker sense of resignation.
Overall, this beautiful album demonstrates Guy’s compositional talent and restraint, which should further enhance his reputation as a composer within experimental music.
Review - Norman Records
While it is without a doubt Serious Music for Intelligent People, you don't need a PhD to enjoy its subtly swirling synthesis, which is meditative enough to calm a crying baby.