Regarding the role that art could have in preventing wars, Roel Meelkop openly admits his inner doubts, leaning more toward the pessimistic end of things. Without getting into overly skeptical specifics, let me just say that I agree, especially in light of the manufactured and staged conflicts that are so characteristic of today, invariably waged at the expense of the less privileged classes and “reported” by sources wholly beholden to the ruling powers, distorting reality and erasing official history (about which your reviewer already has severe reservations, given the inborn corruptibility of the average human). Working on intuition and perception is the only method to defend oneself, and sound waves are definitely the best mind-strengthening tool for this; Meelkop offers helpful assistance in this area.
The four movements of Viva In Pace (Italian for “may he/she live in peace”) travel through variable acousmatic spectrums with a combination of intimate familiarity with the audio material, willingness to let it choose its own emotional course, and – in a sense – silent acceptance of the outcome, whatever it may be, by the very composer. Meelkop forces the listener to pay close attention to each event, and connect the details in such a way that they form a consistent totality in one’s perceptual equipment. After initially subjecting us to rather acrid synthetic emanations, he achieves the goal by skillfully juxtaposing sonic milieus ranging from concrete/environmental to remotely wavering in nowhere, thriving in spaces that are now largely reverberant, now almost occluding. The impression of a parallel, and not exactly reassuring (im)materiality is continually present amid somewhat droning atmospheres, charged-then-abruptly-interrupted silences, and ungovernable outflows. It is more beneficial to make an effort to understand it than to keep yelling and raising fists at an invisible foe.
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