Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bob Gilmore on Phill Niblock

From the notes accompanying Touch Strings: "Phill Niblock's music is massive yet nuanced, with dense sonic clouds that envelop the listener in a high volume, ever-changing environment rich in aural fascination. This is music without climax, broad swathes of sound composed of individual events that melt into larger textures suggesting a deep space. Niblock's materials are sustained pitches, sometimes reiterated, most often microtonally displaced by tiny amounts, creating a web of subtle pitch distinctions that appears static but which in fact undergoes constant change. The patterns created in air by the beating and phasing of near-unison tones are like wet paint with one colour streaking into another; tiny striations appear and disappear, like figures in mist. The extreme economy of material in Niblock's music ironically produces a quasi-infinity of sound; the pieces may begin somewhere, but there is never a necessary ending, the music inhabiting a world without boundaries. This music is expansive, metaphorically full of sun, wind and weather. Niblock is concerned as much with the weight and impact of one pitch against another as he is with their harmonic relationship. The tones fill the space, changing density as you listen. …"


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