I’m not annoying everybody by repeating the whole concept and the almost ritual procedures behind this work (just Google the artist’s name with the record’s title and get what you need). On a strictly musical sense, something must be said, though. Veliotis subdivided the cello’s tonal range in 100 quarter tones and – from August 26 through December 6, 2008 – painstakingly recorded a sixty-minute drone for each pitch. The daily diary of this operation appears in tiny print on the sleeve and it’s quite interesting – if a little hard on the eyes – to read, had someone believed that making droning music is easy (try without a keyboard, then come back weeping). Following this Via Crucis, the resulting 100-note telluric mantra was placed in a single audio file called “The Complete Works For Cello”.
The sonic outcome is extraordinary: a huge wall of sound that might be described as a cross-pollination of Phill Niblock, Glenn Branca and Iannis Xenakis occurring during the Chernobyl disaster. Familiar with the very long silences typical of this Greek cellist? They’re gone: this is a colossal, monolithic mass whose stillness reveals thousands of disguised micro-movements. Listen carefully and, especially when wearing headphones, superimposed orchestras, indecipherably singing choirs and lone vocalists are distinctly perceived. It is only a fruit of the imagination, grown from the accumulation of upper partials, notes and noises comprised by this amassment. Superlatives – and the will of totally liberating your head from everything else – are definitely required.
A fantastic CD that’s going to be enormously valuable in a much needed process of isolation from the rest of the world, at least for a hour, and – more than ever – from all kinds of endlessly pontificating schnooks. Nikos Veliotis rules.