Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday, February 18, 2022

Iannis Xenakis, Electroacoustic Works
  • Iannis Xenakis, Electroacoustic Works (disc 1)
  • Harry Bertoia, Gong Gong / Elemental
  • Cyanosis, Stave
  • Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, Glistening Inn
  • Graveyards, Blues for the Night People
  • Tom Carter & Vanessa Arn, What Is Here For?
  • Gate, Fear of Music
  • Sparks, No. 1 in Heaven
  • The Verlaines, Hallelujah All the Way Home
  • Arooj Aftab, Vulture Prince
  • Pan American, The Patience Fader

Iannis Xenakis’s classic Persepolis (1971) is unquestionably the greatest hour-long abrasive monolithic noise epic ever commissioned by the Shah of Iran. Trust me, you don’t want to hear the others.

Home listening hardly seems a substitute for being present for the original outdoor performance, but you could try cranking the volume up and pretending that 500 little Iranian kids are marching around your living room brandishing torches and dodging laser beams.

“Persepolis” is perpetually being remastered, re-edited, and reissued. Every few years they discover they used the wrong tape, or ran the tape at the wrong speed, or two minutes of material went missing, or lord knows what. Even the cuneiform on the cover of the original Phillips LP is upside down. You should think twice about the possible consequences of letting any version of this cursed music into your home.

None of the versions are backwards. That’s some consolation.

I don’t have any of the vinyl versions, but I now own four CD versions: on Fractal, Edition RZ, Asphodel, and now this new one on Karlrecords. And I want to be clear on this point: these aren’t different performances. It’s a goddamn tape piece.

This latest version was remastered by one “Martin Wurmnest”, and that seems like a suitable name for a man brave enough to open this nest of worms, as it were. I can’t find it right now, but I swear I read an interview with him where he said something like, “Well, we probably screwed it up this time around, too.”

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