Info Periphery: Polychromatic Integers 
"Polychromatic Integers"
by Richard Lainhart
Periphery (OTP2011)
"An Open Hand"
"An Unknown Number"
"Under The Clock"

Richard Lainhart's URL


fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle

A set of not-quite-lost refound pieces from Richard Lainhart, digital artisan, graduate in composition and electronic music, and composer for film, TV and the web. An active performer and composer of over 150 electronic and acoustic works, and collaborator with such notables as John Cage, David Tudor, Steve Reich, and Phill Niblock, Lainhart has been trafficking in timbres for a lifetime, and is by now steeped in the varied applications of Buchla boxes, numerous synths, keyboards, vibes, and guitars. In some senses, then, a kind of hub for electronic music over four decades, on Polychromatic Integers he experiments with early forms of Midi, samplers and computers. It draws from various sources and tendencies recognizable in the work of American minimalist types like Reich and Riley, the polyrhythmics of gamelan ("Under The Clock"), electronic Kosmische - early Tangerine Dream, New Age - Patrick O'Hearn, Frippertronics, and shared resonances with a strain of drone atmospherics prevalent in experimental ambient in recent years. The closing "Staring At The Moon" is a case in point - a 2003 reworking of a piece for vibes and Cycling 74's M, using the sound of the bowed vibes exclusively in an interactive duet for performer and computer.

Long before this, opener "An Open Hand" has exhibited the outcome of the application of microvariate minimalism to a Chapman Stick with digital delays to tap into a similar vein to that from which Reich drew his Electric Counterpoint. Then "Desert Gardens," likewise wrought from Chapman Stick played with an Ebow, though, truth be told, it's one of the weaker links in the selection in respect of making the transition from its temporal context. The album veers from such tweaked guitar-based variants towards off-world tribal process pieces, such as "The Naga"; then there's "An Unknown Number," fuelled by similar vapours and kinesis to some of Steve Roach’s early tribal-drift-fusion works, or perhaps a slightly drier specimen drawn from the same zone as Paul Schütze’s fetid 4th World fusions (cf. New Maps of Hell). All in all, then, Polychromatic Integers is one of for the connoisseur of electronic music in respect of its documenting of the various vectors of its musico-cultural development.

Review by Alan Lockett


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