Mark Applebaum

Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering

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Between 1992 and 1996, Mark Applebaum composed The Janus Cycle, a group of 11 pieces. In his own words, they are "hard-core modernist compositions for virtuoso ensembles," ranging from solo to orchestral pieces. But here's the catch: Applebaum is interested in the art/pop dichotomy and he discovered techno music. He decided to "remix" the Janus pieces, using recorded live performances of them. Through sampling and manipulation of the pieces (juxtapositions, temporal and pitch modifications, etc.), Applebaum has created 11 new pieces. His artistic process is inspired by techno but bears one big difference: the composer only uses his own material. As narcissistic as it may seem, it's not. The connection between the artist and the work is simply stronger, as every plundering of the original work calls on strong emotions.

The Janus ReMixes delivers a stunning hybrid of contemporary classical music, electroacoustics, and techno. Although Applebaum never uses a beatbox, he managed to give some tracks a rhythmic pulse reminiscent of techno (like on "Anesthesia ReMix" and "Sargasso ReMix"). Some tracks also have reconstructed melodies. But the main aesthetics at work here are not techno related. This is an exploration of sampling and transmodal composition -- passing from contemporary classical to electroacoustics, from live to computerized performance -- conveyed by a vernacular language: techno. The result is daring, pleasing, as non-techno as can be, and very different from Applebaum's first CD Mousetrap Music. One of the most original albums of 2000.

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