Peter Orins | Happened By Accident
Circum Disc / Tour de Bras (CD/DL)
The bellow of the drums opens like a ritual on Peter Orins‘ Happened By Accident. The recording, based solely on percussive elements, is broken into seven parts, the first six Happened By Accident Part 1-6. Orins utilizes layers of lengthy drone below a fair amount of intimate, textural micro-gestures. The effect is striking, and a bit ominous.
The organic sounds, like breaking open nut shells, twisting objects, the sudden tap of the drum skin, the pauses and squeaking, all add up to the development of a quizzical acoustic space that takes risks. His blend of movements and actions is pure electroacoustic musique concrète, reminds the listener to pay attention to the most minor details. Some of these actions scrape surfaces like chalk hitting a surface in harsh swipes, like a windshield wiper that is overly dry, glassy bits, like gently rap-tapping away at a jar of marbles or beads – and while the composer is probing away his experiment evolves like its own seductive ear porn.
THE (literal) BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: By balancing low bass tones and the pitch of tiny jangling gizmos Orins creates an intimate relationship between his hand motions and the listener. It’s a very physical set of coordinates that tingles the senses. In one moment it sounds as if he is deconstructing transistors, at others it sounds as though he’s creating a tiny one man orchestra – pocket-sized crashes and all. At a general glance you might think he’s capturing a field recording of the blade hitting the frozen surface while ice skating, or even perhaps cooking in a wok. If you like microsound you will absolutely love this. And as this moves on through these first six sections the crackling and rummaging becomes more vigorous and strange. His raw materials are clearly deployed full tilt here, as Orins plays by his own rules.
Engaging intimate moments meet a difficult high pitch smack dab in the middle here. And finally Orins introduces us to Having Never Written A Note For Percussion. Just some background:
“His work, influenced in particular by his encounter with minimal music and composers such as Michael Pisaro, James Saunders or Anthony Pateras, led him to approach James Tenney’s piece “Having Never Written A Note For Percussion” (from the Postal Pieces, written in 1971), a piece that combines the musician’s various concerns with time, progression, dynamics and the richness of the timbres…”
This twelve minute work may break with the remainder of the recording in concept, but it most definitely re-centers the deep listening audience for a bit of mollifying respite. This piece hovers in sonic drone. The voluminous-ness grows and grows to an earnest crescendo as this begins to sound like a warehouse full of cymbalists. Eventually the din of this saucer-like peak fades, taking its gradual course. One for the senses.