Angus MacLaurin

Glass Music

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The water filled goblet ensemble, seen often on television as a novelty act, has also been stereotyped in a simplistic manner, interpreting children's songs or basic pop music. Angus MacLaurin has exponentially exploded the mythical ceiling of glass music, experimenting with every possible extended technique and usage of the digital realm to create a music that sounds electronic, but retains the organic nature of its elements. Taped on reel-to-reel recorders and processed through whatever means he conceives, MacLaurin has created expansive, multi-layered sheets of sound music that are very nautically inclined (they were produced in Maine), richly harmonic, and beyond the convention of swishing a crystal with ones fingers to obtain tones. From the first piece, "Fugue," you understand the mutation from pressurized sand to opaque fragile delicacy to otherworldly realms. A layered 4/4 minimalist piece, you hear repeated phrases challenged by dominant and passive voices with emphasis on the lower pitched glasses acting as large resonant bells or gongs. "4th of July," in two parts, features a reversed, secretive celebration of bowed glasses and long underground tones, "Sea Shanty" in a straight and remixed version, echoes the passing of the ancient mariners in electronically massaged looped sound and backwards circular inserts, remarkably processed. "Drunken Nightmare" naturally has a spooky under bottom with tapped glasses in a waltz rhythm that sound vibraphone like. "What?" adds marimba and theremin to the glasses mix and they initially dominate, making way for a 6/8 inquisitive clacking sound and thickly layered multiphonic madness that seems too dense to conceptually imagine. "Ghost Ship" again relives the sea spirit of friendly and ominous apparitions with gurgled splashes, a fish's mushy dialect, and many underwater subtexts. This is a genius concept, the contemporary combination of innate and physical made surreal by the fervent imagination of one very advanced person who sounds like millions. Wow!

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