Keith Prosk, harmonic series, March 1, 2023

Isabelle Bozzini, Stéphanie Bozzini, Alissa Cheung, and Clemens Merkel perform two 37’ realizations of their delta from Éliane Radigue’s Occam Ocean across consecutive dates on Occam Delta XV.

If it were only the numbered series of releases from shiiin, that each Occam recording introduces something special could be considered a conscious aspect of presentation but as this characteristic continues through independent presentations too it might illuminate the naturalistic diversity inherent to a system whose foundation begins with the foundation of life. Recordings have seemed to so far systematically introduced occam, river, delta, and ocean forms, traced one performer through them, provoked comparison of behaviors in instrumentation with all strings or all winds. Always each showcases the relationship of the performer to their instrument and the limit of each. This delta feels special in that while other ensembles — Zinc & Copper, Decibel, Onceim — are anchored by a chevalier with an occam Quatuor Bozzini stands without as a kind of unit unto itself. This is also the first presentation to provide two recordings together, across consecutive nights and, though it’s ambiguous, I assume the same place.

And it is the first delta to sound deltaic to me. The quartet begins closer to unison than it ends, with the gradual recognition that bowing cadences seem to have drifted towards their instruments’ natural frequencies, twin violins in relative ecstatic excitation over low and slow cello, having got there by a meandering way that felt in the moment to be suspended, slow bowings’ strokes carving bank and bar in epochal time, a rise in volume splaying harmonics like the channel widens at the space it splits, the intuition and the information of never stepping in the same river twice. In between always a world of harmonics like life under a microscope, teeming. A few provide markers across evenings as fossils would. A kind of high-tension tanpura buzz. A dancing satyr fluting. The differences are subtle but tangible, felt more than known and ineffable. Perhaps the satyr’s bolder on the first night and the tanpura on the second. But it lights the imagination to wonder the minute physical parameters that would change the sound, the pressure and the temperature of the room one night or another, beyond the infinite variations in the performers’ hands.

A kind of high-tension tanpura buzz. A dancing satyr fluting.