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På skive


«Jim O’Rourke: Best that you do this for me»

Cellist (and visual artist) Anton Lukoszevieze, founder of the British experimental string trio Apartment House, first heard musician-composer-producer Jim O’Rourke (of Sonic Youth fame) when O’Rourke was working with the Merce Cunningham’s dance company. Later he came across O’Rourke’s work for String Quartet and Oscillators («Steamroom 5», 2013) and performed it with Apartment House. The next step was to commission a new composition by O’Rourke, especially for Apartment House.

Apartment House performed before works of other innovative composers like John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Yoko Ono, Linda Catlin Smith and Harold Budd. Apartment House adopts the saying of American conceptual composer George Brecht: «Not: Art Not: Non-Art Not: Both Art and Non-Art Not: Neither Art nor Non-Art». «Best that you do this for me» fits perfectly into Apartment House aesthetics.

O’Rourke composed the 59-minute «Best that you do this for me» after listening to choral works by contemporary Czech composer Martin Smolka. O’Rourke wanted to stress elements that would offset the skill and care being taken in playing their instruments by asking Apartment House to hum, sing and whistle. The score is a series of 48 single pages, each with 4 circles on, for muted violin played by Mira Benjamin, viola played by Bridget Carey, and cello played by Lukoszevieze. Each circle is a sound event, consisting of a natural harmonic which can be held for any duration. Within each circle are indications such as whistling, humming and singing combined with the bowed harmonics. Each player can work around the page clockwise or anti-clockwise. The vocalizations are either in unison with the harmonic or intervals of a 4th or a 5th. Apartment House recorded this composition recorded at Goldsmiths Music Studios in London in November 2020 and now includes in its repertoire other compositions by O’Rourke.

This is an open-ended, minimalist and almost static composition that highlights episodic gestures of overlapping, sustained notes and overtones. It explores the full timbres of the cello, violin and viola, and is matched with the subtle, harmonious vocalizations, hums and whistles of Apartment House. The fragile, introspective atmosphere of «Best that you do this for me» invites Apartment House, and, obviously, the listener to experience sound in different modes of time and space.

Eyal Hareuveni

Mira Benjamin (vio), Bridget Carey (viola), Anton Lukoszevieze (c)


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