There are slight diversifications in this collection of 24 Still Pieces. However, the hours spent with them are going to be compensated with the trademark “oneness vibe” that Ian Vine never fails to induce through his scores.
The durations range from two to three minutes, as opposed to the extended lengths of previously appraised materials. All the tracks are distinguished by the absence of fade-ins and fade-outs: starting and ending abruptly, they leave the ears completely unclothed as soon as the brain becomes accustomed to their pseudo-static sphere. The extremely short pauses do not really interfere with the overall progression, though. It’s not the sort of held sounds/protracted silences alternance typical of many “reductionist” works; more like a sustained mesmeric condition interspersed with fleeting awakenings.
This time Vine didn’t do it all alone. Besides himself on guitar, accordion and piano (the latter producing the occasional “tangible ghost” of note amidst the droning wakes), Jennifer George’s flute can also be heard. Whatever the acoustic combination, the outcome is gloriously colored. It’s an excruciating perfection, so to speak; both the awareness of belonging and the sadness of our limitations within the realms of infinity are beautifully rendered.
The aforementioned variations are to be found in the discreet shifting of the resonant auras produced by each permutation. You can genuinely scrutinize a changing luminosity, or perceive varying degrees of warmth and coldness. In search of answers that cannot be seriously furnished by any respectable human specimen, questioning the overtones remains the only way to acknowledge the existence of a superior system of apprehension.
The composer reports that “the pieces can be played in any order; there are 620,448,401,733,239,439,360,000 permutations”. Granted the cynical quality of this information – and assumed that a considerable amount of self-appointed scientists/mathematicians don’t know a iota of the stuff they babble about, much less sound – we’re ultimately comforted by the acquaintance with a man whose preoccupations on harmony eschew the misshapen logic of an inharmonic attitude.
In other words, keep being fooled by the mirage of “learning”.