Ten Thousand Shades of Blue
Electro-Acoustic composer Richard Lainhart celebrates two decades worth of his recorded music with the release of this double CD, Ten Thousand Shades of Blue. Compositions date from the mid-’70s (Disc 1) through to the end of the ‘80s (Disc 2) showcasing the composer’s evolving stylistic developments. “Bronze Cloud Disk” features a 28-inch cymbal bowed with multiple overdubs and filtering while “Two Mirrors Face One Another” features much the same technique as applied to six Japanese temple bells. “Cities of Light” features the composer’s own multi-tracked voice using multi-phonic techniques à la Tibetan Buddhist monks.
Later works from his ‘80s period, like the title track and the relationships between realtime performances with computer music systems which utilize additive synthesis programs, allowing the composer greater control over the final sound details.
Finally, “Walking Slowly Backwards” features a live recording of the composer playing the vibes with a minimum of electronic processing. This last work seems a natural outcome to his bowed and multi-tracked work of the ‘70s through his more interactive period in the ‘80s.
While the overall scope of the sounds available here could be described as ambient, the music demands attentive listening, as opposed to the usual wallpaper effect that the term implies. Much like the work of the minimalist composers of the ‘70s (i.e.: Reich, Reily) in terms of small shifting details over a long period of time, Lainhart investigates similar terrain without the heavy emphasis on rhythmic repetition and counterpoint. Textural in nature, much of this work should appeal to fans of trance music with its long drones of minute fluctuations in texture and dynamics.
Ten Thousand Shades of Blue will certainly lead one in to a deep beta state if listened to at full length. Keep still and pay attention, if you can.