Iannis Xenakis

Kraanerg (1968)

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Xenakis' 1968 work for tape and orchestra, "Kraanerg" was performed several times after its composition, though synchronizing tape effects with the orchestra often proved difficult. Charles Zacharie Bornstein, conductor of the ST-X Ensemble, conceived the brilliant idea of hiring turntablist philosopher Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) to take over the tape effects (prerecorded by Xenakis in 1968) for a new 1996 recording, supervised and attended by the composer himself. The result is an excellent recording that dovetails nicely with Xenakis' late-'60s compositional aims -- reflecting the world's exploding population base (and the fact that much of it will be youth). The recording itself and sound quality are excellent, with much care devoted to the wide frequencies of the ST-X Ensemble (which includes many strings plus trumpets, trombones, contrabassoon, and contrabass clarinet). Miller's contributions are not large, but the concrète atmospheres of Xenakis' tape exerts a certain dominance over the proceedings. Though it might be a difficult album for listeners not used to the work of early electronic composers, Kraanerg is a rewarding recording.