Arnold Dreyblatt & Crash Ensemble, The Orchestra of Excited Strings, etc . . .

edited February 17 in Classical
Crash Ensemble performs Arnold Dreyblatt's Resonant Relations & twentyfive chords in twentyfive in ninety four variations - (Cantaloupe 2008)
Arnold Dreyblatt:
(b. New York City, 1953) is an American composer and visual artist. He studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, Alvin Lucier and media art with Steina and Woody Vasulka. He has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. In 2007, he was elected to the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin).[1]

In his installations, performances and media works, Dreyblatt creates complex textual and spatial metaphors for memory which function as a media discourse on recollection and the archive. His installations, public artworks and performances have been exhibited and staged extensively in Europe. "Dreyblatt's project, maintains its edge--and its importance for the rethinking of identity, history, culture, and memory--by refusing to retreat from or transcend... ...public, archival traces." - Jeffrey Wallen, Hampshire College.

Among the second generation of New York minimal composers, Arnold Dreyblatt has developed a unique approach to composition and music performance. He has invented a set of new and original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. His compositions are based on harmonics, and thus just intonation, played either through a bowing technique he developed for his modified bass, and other modified and conventional instruments which he specially tuned. He originally used a steady pulse provided by the bowing motion on his bass (placing his music in the minimal category), but he eventually added many more instruments and more rhythmic variety.

In 1998 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
- Wiki
Arnold Dreyblatt

Crash Ensemble:
- is an Irish new music ensemble, founded in 1997 by composer Donnacha Dennehy, conductor and pianist Andrew Synott and clarinettist Michael Seaver. It played its first concert in Dublin in 1997. It currently consists of 11 performers and the conductor Alan Pierson, under the artistic direction of Dennehy, as well as using video, lighting and sound amplification as an integral part of the project.

The ensemble has been particularly associated with totalist (post-minimalist) composers from the US and post-new Hague school composers from Holland, as well as performing much music by Dennehy and other Irish coomposers and older pieces by the minimalist generation (including Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Roberto Carnevale, Kevin Volans and Terry Riley). It has given premieres or commissioned work by Peter Adriaansz, Raymond Deane, Arnold Dreyblatt, Stephen Gardner, Michael Gordon, John Godfrey, Andrew Hamilton, Jurgen Simpson, Gerhard Stabler, Jennifer Walshe, Ian Wilson, Linda Buckley and Julie Feeney.

Since 2002 Crash has been mounting its own contemporary music festivals in Dublin, in a similar manner to the Bang on a Can Festival in New York, including adopting their popular 'marathon' format for their 2006 celebration of Reich.

Other than touring in Ireland, Crash have performed in Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and the US. They have recorded for New York label Cantaloupe Music as well as for NMC Recordings in London.
- Crash Ensemble

Track 2: Escalator
Cantaloupe CA21001
Bang On A Can All-Stars
Special thanks to Evan Zyporyn

"Arnold Dreyblatt's Escalator is based on recordings of malfunctioning escalators. The band would hammer away on one note while the drums pounded with Beefheartian rhythms. Tense harmonies abruptly gave way to gentler sections while still maintaining typical Dreyblatt rhythms. Escalator sounded less like a malfunctioning escalators than an insanely mad town orchestra. Bang On A Can should commission more works by New York City microtonalists like Branca and Dreyblatt."
- Juxtaposition Ezine
In 1986-87 I began working on a "digital dynamic processing system" for a commission at Ars Electronicain Linz in 1987 and further developed this in a residency at STEIM in Amsterdam in 1989. This system was triggered with recorded machine tracks and interacts with acoustic instruments. Its basis are recordings of the rhythms produced by a number of malfunctioning escalators on the Blvd. Ansbach in Brussels which I made in 1987. In this version of Escalator, I notated repetitive rhythmic patterns found in these recordings and scored them for cimbalom, prepared electric guitar and cello, later adding layers of percussion, saxophone and prepared "excited strings" bass in collaboration with the musicians

This performance of Escalator for the Bang in a Can All-Stars was the first occasion where my music has been played by an ensemble other than my own. The piece had its beginnings in a duet performance piece with percussionist Pierre Berthet in Belgium in 1988, and it has been performed in various transformations by The Orchestra of Excited Strings over the years.
- Arnold Dreyblatt


  • Black Truffle, June 19, 2020
    Star Trap presents a selection of hitherto unreleased 1990s recordings from Arnold Dreyblatt and his Orchestra of Excited Strings. Following on from Black Truffle’s wide-ranging archival Second Selection (2015), which presented a smorgasbord of unreleased material from between 1978 and 1989, Star Trap mines Dreyblatt’s extensive archive of unheard recordings from the 1990s, uncovering six pieces performed by three different iterations of the Orchestra of Excited Strings. While Dreyblatt often performs in his ensembles on his signature Excited Strings Bass (a double bass strung with piano wire), here we find him in the composer’s chair and behind the mixing desk, leading ensembles of modified percussion, string, and wind instruments. Four of the pieces make use of Dreyblatt’s Dynamic Processing System (heard on a stunning pair of solo pieces for electric guitar featured on Second Selection), in which the opening and closing of digital noise gates are controlled by an external signal (in this case, a recording of faulty escalator). Rather than the relentless thudding rhythms of 1980s works like Nodal Excitations, the ensemble pieces here are closer to the propulsive, at times even funky rhythmic foundation of Dreyblatt’s classic Animal Magnetism (Tzadik, 1995), but further enlivened by the unpredictable accents of the Dynamic Processing System. On ‘Escalator’, a six-piece version of the Orchestra performs the notated stuttering rhythms and shifting accents of the gated escalator recordings, without the actual Dynamic Processing System being audible. On the remaining two pieces, composed for the tenth anniversary of the Orchestra of Excited Strings in Europe, Dreyblatt made use of algorithmic software to generate material. But far from austere exercises, these pieces are perhaps the most immediate of all, as the Orchestra exuberantly tears through a sequence of repeating rhythmic and melodic cells, dazzling the ear with the overtones generated by Dreyblatt’s twenty-note microtonal scale. At times recalling aspects of the work of Peter Zummo or Arthur Russell’s Instrumentals, but with a massive dose of sonic heft, this is music for both the mind and the body.
  • edited February 16
    Just dumping this one:


Sign In or Register to comment.