The Secret Lives of Electromagnetic Transducers by Hadas Pe’ery

Hadas Pe’ery | The Secret Lives of Electromagnetic Transducers
Elli Records (DL)

In a live recording from 2017 this is a dynamic work from composer Hadas Pe’ery. Her unconventional approach is something that blends drone, spatial constructs, traditional instruments and more atmospheric presence than most anything you will spin this season (or likely next). The pacing here is somewhat remotely categorized as deliberate, even sluggish. Full of propeller-like patter percussion that punctuates the airspace.

These six shorter compositions make up the whole of these ‘secret lives’ as stated: “Each player was assigned a unique electronic setup. Electro-magnetic transducers and speaker components were used to transform different surfaces into resonating membranes through which live-electronics and the performers themselves were amplified: some players were amplified through their own instruments, some through other performers’ instruments, some through speakers worn around the necks of audience members, etc.” A unique physical set-up to say the least, but it in no way drowns out the tiniest of nuances inlaid here, each strum, each dabble upon a set of keys, every sordid sound effect, however abstract or strait.

Pe’ery has total control over this cast of a half-dozen freeplayers. It’s a schism between out jazz, nu-classical and other unbeknownst intersections of noise over an abstract template. This most definitely speaks of the live experience, a front row amid such, but never drops its sense of balance. When a voice starts speaking, syllabically, to a repeating voice, and engagement, the Middle Eastern words spoken overlap, and are roughly amplified, yu can hear every squeak, breath, small action in the room.

Industrial matter, and perhaps even common objects are intimated as the briefest of solos here, but unlike genre-specific tropes, this plays mostly in the collective sense, with all pitching in to make a piece that continues evolving. In fact, it’s not until The Secret Lives V, midway, that this fusion takes hold fully, in stretched ellipses, sounds that evaporate, spew, and dawdle. It’s a work of actionist expression, an experiential work, one that would have most definitely be a delight to see performed live in person. Though instead of traveling the world, it’s great to be able to have and hold and press play to make this spin in my mind a while.

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