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Forgetting and Remembering


(Innova CD 528

Those with long memories will probably recall Robert Paredes' years in Australia (1984-86) with fondness. As a composer, performer, and musical thinker, he had a great impact on the Melbourne scene. While here, he produced, with the help of the ABC, a remarkable tape work for 7 clarinets, called Forgetting and Remembering, in which each day for a week, he recorded a 30 minute clarinet improvisation on to one track of an 8 track tape. Each subsequent recording was made without having listened to any whole (or part) of any previous recording in order that he might be able to access the past solely through memory. The result is a strong statement of an experimental aesthetic in which the overall sound of a piece is the result of the processes used to produce it, as well as the result of any moment-to-moment decisions the composer might make. Later, in Iowa City (where he still lives), he produced an incredible series of seventeen electronic works, entitled (Speakers), which further explore ideas of process, physicality, and a penetrating inquiry into the nature of performance and composition. As well as Forgetting and Remembering, this long overdue CD has the last of this series: #17 (Speakers): [in every moment {of] decay}..., a half-hour work for "the sounds of analog electronics, clarinet, tenor sax, kalimba and assorted noise makers in which "decay"... informs the music at levels large and small." It's a large, absorbing, and dense work, which builds energy only to give way to a steady-state energy, which to me sounds like one of the longest slow releases of energy I've ever heard in a piece. Paredes work continues to be, after all these years, intense, probing, and unique.

(this review was first published in Chroma)

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