DARRIN VERHAGEN: P3
(CD Single from Dorobo Limited Editions, PO Box 1040, Fern Tree Gully, Vic. 3156 Australia email@example.com)
P3 is the latest project from composer and record producer Darrin Verhagen. It's a 21 minute CD single with 5 tracks, which was originally commissioned by John Crawford for his ABC New Music Australia radio program. The work has a unique form. The first two tracks feature shakuhachi samples of quite seductive timbre, alternating with digital spikes and artifacts which are quite jarring. Do not adjust your CD player - it's functioning quite properly, though the first time through, you might question this. These digital spikes, according to Darrin, are meant to serve the same function as the breath sounds, and abrupt attacks do in traditional shakuhachi music: to serve as a disruptive force to concentrate the attention, and to make a contrast between moments of calm and moments of severity. At the beginning of the third track is a short high energy noise section, which is a preparation for the long, hallucinatory, very beautiful and quiet 4th and 5th tracks. The last track was made with real time digital processing of a track from a previous CD of his, and sounds very bell-like, having the kind of delicate instability that Darrin aims for in his work. And the work has a sequel - on completing the work, Darrin gave all the sound files to Adelaide-based Matthew Thomas, who made a completely different work from them. I haven't heard any work quite like this - it's unique, and quite engaging. Darrin says there are only 5 - 10 copies left of this collector's CD, so if you want one, contact him quickly at the above email address.
(this review was first published in Chroma)