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Guy Birkin is back with another album of process-oriented computer music which I'm finding just as baffling as his last one. Check out the press release if you want to know the head-scratching technical details. I've read them but they just made me a bit more confused if anything, and I don't even think I'm much of a dunce usually. It's something to do with Arvo Part, algorithms, stochastic method ...

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Tintinnabuli Mathematica Vol. I by Guy Birkin
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Mike Staff review, 21 February 2014

Guy Birkin is back with another album of process-oriented computer music which I'm finding just as baffling as his last one. Check out the press release if you want to know the head-scratching technical details. I've read them but they just made me a bit more confused if anything, and I don't even think I'm much of a dunce usually. It's something to do with Arvo Part, algorithms, stochastic methods and integer sequences. There's even a graph breaking the tracks down...for example "Track: 9f4; Generative method: A01223 Difference between primes; Notes: 3x2048; Voices: {M, T-1, T+1, T+2, T+3}, T-2, T-3". Come again?

In terms of a listening experience, however, this is much less of a challenge than the impenetrable science behind it. It basically sounds like minimal synthesizer music, except the random and repetitive aspects of it have been chosen by computer algorithms rather than people. I think. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm quite confused. It's really relaxing, though, lots of cascading pure tones and subtle little twinkly melodies.

While it is without a doubt Serious Music for Intelligent People, you don't need a PhD to enjoy its subtly swirling synthesis, which is meditative enough to calm a crying baby. I'm still a bit perplexed, but Guy Birkin clearly understands exactly what he's doing.


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