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Radio ›› Martin Arnold: Aberrare
Martin Arnold: Aberrare
contact;vault (1997), 17m02s [excerpt]
CD: Collection QB (2011) CQB 1112

I think of my fundamental activity as a musician as listening, especially to music. And any music I might take part in making flows out from listening. So what can I say about my compositional practice listening to the music on this CD? It’s clear that I care about melody. I love melody: one on its own or two or more combined in any imaginable manner-monody, homophony, polyphony and heterophony. I love melody; but I’m not concerned with themes, subjects (first or second), motifs (especially of the leit variety), or phrases (at least when they display their Greek root-phrazein: "to tell, express, declare"). I am not at all interested in tracing narrative onto the movement of music and so I’m not interested in melodies that assert themselves as characters that develop. I care about continuation, not progression. I love music that continues; but, as my listening imagination moves through this continuum, it’s the detail that engages me, the specificity of how the melody meanders within the perpetual, continuing present; present because I’m not concerned with where things are going to go, what they’re going to become. And melody here isn’t just a succession of pitches; it’s texture-intentional and indeterminate-folding and unfolding. But I don’t want the detail to be declared-no quotation marks around anything, no underlining; I want to stumble on it on my sonic dérive. I think my work openly evinces the influence of other music I listen to in this way: various traditional folk musics, late 14th century polyphony (the ars subtilior; the subtle art); pre-Elizabethan consort music. But I listen to a lot of slow Mahler this way as well (and I hear a lot of Mahler subtilior in Liquidambars). I also hear the music on this CD as dance music. Dancing is one of my favourite forms of co-creative listening and fortunately I don’t need to compose most of the dance music that powerfully moves me-it’s well taken care of by others. But my body does move to this music; it staggers and slips and lightly slews (though only rarely hops) and sometimes waltzes. Dancing is also a form of listening that doesn’t need to embrace the concept of understanding. In response to my music Wandelweiser composer/theorist Antoine Beuger sent me a link to Walter de Maria’s essay Meaningless Work. There’s a productive connection there so I’ll pass it on to you: artnotart.com/fluxus/wdemaria-meaninglesswork.html. "Whether the meaningless work, as an art form, is meaningless, in the ordinary sense of that term, is of course up to the individual." In 1987 visual artist Barbara Kruger said: "How can we encourage work that is not exemplary but merely different?" That encouraged me. And in eschewing the exemplary I listen for little differences, subtle differences, the kind of difference I hope you find here.

Martin Arnold

Track Listing

    • 1
      contact;vault (1997)
      • 2.0
        • Stereo 2.0
      17m02s
    • 2
      Liquidambars (2009)
      • 2.0
        • Stereo 2.0
      11m35s
    • 3
      Slew & Hop (2000-07)
      • 2.0
        • Stereo 2.0
      12m32s
    • 4
      Aberrare (Casting) (2004, 09)
      • 2.0
        • Stereo 2.0
      22m42s
      • 4
        1
        • 2.0
          • Stereo 2.0
        2m20s
      • 5
        2
        • 2.0
          • Stereo 2.0
        2m16s
      • 6
        3
        • 2.0
          • Stereo 2.0
        2m42s
      • 7
        4
        • 2.0
          • Stereo 2.0
        15m24s
Total duration: 63m52s