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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Peter Ablinger - Augmented Studies [World Edition - 2014]

Augmented Studies offers up four (mainly) lengthy studies in angular, off-kilter & sometimes balance effecting flute pieces by Austrian composer Peter Ablinger.

Ablinger has been creating work since the 1980’s, and his work has utilized both formal instrumentations such as: pianos, flutes, human voice, harpsichord, orchestra, saxophone, String Quartet, accordion, and violin. As well as more uncommon fair such as: electronic noise, snail shells, Ground noise from  18 different churches, vinyl records, radio noise, tape recorders, acoustic foam, acrylic glass, ect. His work seemingly blurs the line between experimental sound composition, modern classical, sound art & noise.

Opening up the release we have “Hypothesen über das Mondlicht”- this track is from 2012, and is a piece for sixteen flutes. The just under 21 minute track is really, really disorientating, unbalancing & almost sick-ness inducing bit of mirco-rhythmic/ micro-tonal composition. You’d compare it to the physical feeling of either: been very nauseous on a continual bobbing up & down seesaw, or spin on & on a merry ground ride with the world beyond slowly getting more wonky & unbalanced, or maybe trying to walk after you’ve been spun round & around a few times. The flute tones circle & weave in & out of each other in such a gloriously wonky & head spinning manner, you really do feel like you may fall over…so this certainly is a track to play while firmly seated or lying down.  This first track is my favourite  of the four tracks here, because of it’s great feeling of unblancing-ness

Track number two comes in the form of  "SS. Giovanni e Paolo", and this just over five minute track utilizes a phonograph, wind instruments & a glissando slide. The phonograph elements were captured in 2007, while the other elements were added on in 2012. This is the shortest track here, and it’s rather haunting yet still unbalancing work- the elements slowly droning, grate  & warbling around each other to creating this very tangible feel of the world of the dead/the  spirit world. You could imagine snippets of this working well on  a haunted house movie soundtrack.


"Ohne Titel / 3 Flöten" is track number three, and this just under 21 minute track was conceived between 1989 & 1991.  This track features three flutes, and they focus in on wonky tonal droning patterns/ drifts- these are broken up ever so often by a few seconds of silence. This tracks ok, and it does work well in the context of the other pieces here. But for me this was my least favourite moment, as the breaks of silence  rather diminishes the feeling of wonky tension.


Last of all we have the track "Moiréstudie für Chiyoko Szlavnics"- this is from 2012  & comes in at the 21.26 mark, and is the longest of all three tracks.  This track is played out by a group of 22 glissando flutes, which are separated out into two groups. Both groups are playing the same diatonic cluster, but each group is playing at a slightly different speed- this creates this feeling of constantly tension, building & slightly wonky drone hovering. It’s a rather effectively dense bit of work,it's not as brain-screwing as the first track, but it has it’s moments.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the flute as an instrument, as I think it can create such a tangible feeling of either melancholia & brooding atmosphere. But on this release the focus is more on un-balancing the listener along with  very slight hints of creep atmospherics. This is the first taste of Mr Ablinger works, and I’m going make sure it’s not my last... this release is well worth a look if your enjoy mind-altering modern composition.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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