Monday, 15 February 2010


I've been listening to this obsessively since James posted it on Facebook on New Year's Day. It's riveting: a bit Joy Division, a bit gloomy Sigur Rós, a bit Test Dept. I can't resist singing my own arcing, looped vocals over it, weaving in and out of the thrashing, industrial textures.

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In contrast, here's Chanticleer's sumptuous deconstruction of Perotin's Beata Viscera, refracting the music into rippling, echoing lines. Ignore the naff birdsong at the start, and the nauseatingly saccharine imagery on the video. Like 'The Sound', this is another track which starts off simply and then after about five minutes develops into a fierce, shimmering complexity.

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And, as it were halfway between the two, we have this gorgeous duet from Philip Glass's opera Akhnaten, in which the heretic pharaoh Akhnaten and his wife Nefertiti declare their love for one another. He is a countertenor and she and alto, so the sweetness and similarity of the voices is eerie: his more silvery, hers richer in tone. I listened to this constantly as a teenager, and to the following mesmerizing extract from Glass's Einstein on the Beach, which still moves me enormously:

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