The first release on the Experimental Intermedia label (which later changed its name to the punchier XI) and Phill Niblock's first full-length release, 1991's Four Full Flutes is a supercharged exercise in minimalist drones. Phill Niblock got flutists Petr Kotik, Susan Stenger, and Eberhard Blum to play single notes at different microtonal pitches, then edited these sounds down to their most elemental level, removing the players' breathing spaces and wavers off pitch until the results are nothing more than pure drones. These are then looped and layered together in a subtly shifting pattern (first Kotik by himself, then Stenger by herself, then Kotik and Stenger together, then all three) that quickly dissolves into swirling overtones that change when the music is played at different volumes and listened to in different situations (e.g., through headphones, outdoors, etc.). The results are sometimes harsh, when clashing tones are placed together, but more often are oddly beautiful.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason
feat: Petr Kotik
feat: Susan Stenger
feat: Eberhard Blum