In his liner notes for this release, J.P.A. Falzone offers a brief history of subharmonics that may well serve the musically educated listener in good fashion. Not being one of those, this listener simply settled back to appreciate the resultant sounds. Dykstra presents four pieces, each a tad over 14 minutes in length, that use four different approaches to what is, I imagine, a similar sonic issue.
The first utilizes filtered sine tones and reads as an overlapping series of pulse tones vaguely similar in character to some recording by Toshimaru Nakamura with his no-input mixer. There's an underlying regularity to the piece — a pulse of some sort every second or so — but all the pulsing elements vary in texture, timbre, etc., disappearing and emerging at unobvious intervals. One senses a system in place, but it's not as easy to discern as, for example, in many a Tom Johnson piece. Dykstra switches to (multi-tracked) viola for the next work. This result in music that's far more drone-oriented, a complex shifting drone, always unpredictable and always satisfying, even luscious.
The third track gets to the titular bells, a range of them in various pitches. Again, there's a semi-regular rhythm involved, though the "beat" shifts from bell to bell. I found myself thinking of a much looser variation on the glockenspiel portion of Reich's 'Drumming'. Whatever the technical matters engaged here, the music itself is very compelling and almost magical — a lovely and unique experience. The final work is for prepared speakers and electronics and, as with the others, this leads to a very different soundscape, still fairly steady state but with a much rougher, granular sound, capping an intriguing immersive and fascinating release.
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