Philip Krumm

Philip Krumm: Formations

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This world premiere recording of Philip Krumm's Formations for piano (1961-1962) combines a live recording made on January 17, 1968, during the Everyone Wins Festival hosted by Canterbury House at 330 Maynard Street in Ann Arbor, MI, and a studio manifestation created two days later. These realizations were made by "Blue" Gene Tyranny and Dan Cheslik using piano, organ, and ring modulator over magnetic tape recordings of universal microwave sound strata from the South Galactic Pole, a bright hub of stars centered in the Sculptor or Silver Coin Galaxy. The scroll-like musical score was literally sketched over sky charts. Near the end of 1961 Krumm wandered into the University of Michigan Observatory and there encountered a collection of star maps from the very same reference work that John Cage had employed in the composition of his Music for Carillon No. 4 (1961-1966), the Atlas Coeli Skalnate Pleso, an astronomical atlas first assembled in 1947-1948 by Czechoslovakia's Antonin Becvar. Using Cage's methodology, Krumm laid what he called "transparent music paper" over the intergalactic schematics and began the notation procedure. Proximities (nearness and distance) were for Krumm indicators to be used in determining relative volume dynamics. "I then connected the notes in numerous ways, " he remembered, "Like complex constellations. The Cage piece has notes just floating in space...mine connects the notes in myriad arrangements." According to "Blue" Gene Tyranny, the score "...is covered with lattices which connect pitches; the notation looks like some celestial pathway. Movement occurs from note to note following straight lines in any direction." The resulting sound sculpture contained on this CD is 20 minutes and 21 seconds in duration. Backed by noise from other galaxies, the keyboards generate crunches, growls, blasts, and eruptions of sound ranging from deep and murky to shrill and metallic. Complex and imaginative, wonderfully dissonant, splendidly alien in form and texture, this masterpiece of conceptual art belongs in the pantheon of great electronically informed sound structures with Sun Ra's "Hiroshima," Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mantra, and Dr. Fiorella Terenzi's "Music from the Galaxies."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 20:21
blue highlight denotes track pick