Mixtape #51 : Silence (Requiem)

by 5:4

November is a somewhat sombre month, and not only because the days are getting a lot colder and darker here in the UK. This year’s remembrance ceremonies have had extra potency due to the centenary of the end of the First World War, so i’ve taken this as my cue for the next 5:4 mixtape. It’s titled ‘Silence (Requiem)’, though i should stress that i haven’t created it as a commemoration, homage or tribute to anyone or anything specific – i’ve simply curated music that exists in an interesting and thoughtful relationship with silence.

In some cases this takes the form of busy lowercase chatter (Bernhard Günter, John Wall, Tomas Phillips & Luigi Turra, Shinkei, Ennio Mazzon, Christopher McFall), a few tracks are creatively ‘silent’, presented as ostensibly passive field recordings (Unknown Artist, Christoph Limbach, British Library, Dallas Simpson), and there are various examples of restrained or compressed music, containing a sense of pent-up energy (Ben Frost, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, Desist, Jason Lescalleet, Supersilent, Need Thomas Windham, Secret Chiefs 3, Andrew Liles, Ryoji Ikeda). Most of the tracks, though, are gentle, ruminative and/or meditative music, most of which treats silence as an omnipresence into which its material is carefully placed (Gareth Davis & Frances-Marie Uitti, James Weeks, Brian Eno, The Hafler Trio, The Denisovans, Ouvrage Fermont, Jakob Ullmann, Haruo Okada & Fabio Perletta, Burkhard Schlothauer, Kenneth Kirschner, Jürg Frey, Eva-Maria Houben).

Interspersed at half-hourly intervals are four short excerpts from choral works that either reference the dead or are otherwise laments. Ricky Ian Gordon‘s Water Music: A Requiem is a work, according to the composer, “not only for the dead, but for what seemed like a sort of death in me”. Galina Grigorjeva‘s setting of Joseph Brodsky’s The Butterfly (review) is an exquisitely tender articulation of life’s frailty and ephemerality. Bernat VivancosRequiem (review) avoids the traditional Latin text in favour of a more personal philosophical and poetic reflection on death. To end the mixtape, following two minutes of quasi-silence by irr. app. (ext.), i’ve turned to Alfred Schnittke and the haunting wordless piece that ends his Psalms of Repentance.

In all, two hours of near-noiseless contemplative quietude; i recommend close listening in a darkened space, and as there are no sudden loud outbursts feel free to crank up the volume as much as desired. Here’s the tracklisting in full, together with links to obtain the music.

Bernhard Günter – untitled III/92 [excerpt] (from Un Peu De Neige Salie)
Unknown Artist – An Extract From A Recording Made Of The First Rainstorm To Occur After The Disaster At Chernobyl [excerpt] (from Spiral #6)
Ben Frost – High Tide (from The Wasp Factory)
Gareth Davis & Frances-Marie Uitti – Cold Call (from Gramercy)
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Silence [excerpt] (from utp_)
James Weeks – The world in tune [excerpt] (from beten . prayer)
Brian Eno – Constant Dreams (from Textures)
John Wall – Construction V: hylo [excerpt] (from Constructions V-VII)
The Hafler Trio – White is the colour of cannibal silence/The trace of the immediate [excerpt] (from the birds must be eliminated)
Tomas Phillips & Luigi Turra – Vignette I [excerpt] (from Vignettes Amplifie)
Ricky Ian Gordon – Water Music: A Requiem – II [excerpt] (from Of Eternal Light)
Shinkei – binaural_signals [excerpt] (from Binaural Beats [+ Reprocessing])
The Denisovans – məxmər narıncı [excerpt] (from Stormtronics Vol 9)
Christoph Limbach – begin_ if (2) [excerpt] (from begin if _(2))
Desist – Untitled [excerpt] (from The Allegorical Power Series Volume VI – free download)
Jason Lescalleet – Friends of Friends [excerpt] (from This Is What I Do Volume Two )
Ennio Mazzon – Celadon [excerpt] (from Celadon – free download)
Ouvrage Fermont – Eastmoreland Cold Pavement [excerpts] (from Stormtronics Vol 11)
Jakob Ullmann – PRAHA: celetná – karlova – maiselova [excerpt] (from fremde zeit addendum)
Galina Grigorjeva – Nature Morte for mixed choir – II. The Butterfly (from Nature Morte)
Haruo Okada & Fabio Perletta – Genkai 18+20–21 [excerpt] (from Genkai)
British Library – Tawny Owl [excerpt] (from Sounds Of The Night)
Dallas Simpson – The South Downs [excerpt] (from The South Downs: Environmental Studies In Metal, Wood And Stone – free download)
Supersilent – 10.11 (from 10)
Need Thomas Windham – Massgrave In Finestyle / Grantwhore Dub [excerpt] (from The Allegorical Power Series Volume I – free download)
Burkhard Schlothauer – events in five parts – events #3 [excerpt] (from more chamber events)
Secret Chiefs 3 – From Night The Morning Draught Of Wine [excerpt] (from First Grand Constitution and Bylaws)
Kenneth Kirschner – November 3, 1998 [excerpt] (from kennethkirschner.com)
Bernat Vivancos – O Lux Beata [excerpt] (from Requiem)
Christopher McFall – A Circus For The Tame [excerpt] (from The Anatomical Submissiveness Of Lions)
Andrew Liles – The Hennaed Hand Of Glory (Part III) [excerpt] (from The Hennaed Hand Of Glory)
Jürg Frey – Unhörbare zeit [excerpts] (from String Quartet No. 3/Unhörbare zeit)
Ryoji Ikeda – C0:: coda (For T.F.) [excerpt] (from 0°C)
Eva-Maria Houben – 1 (from aus den fliegenden blättern eines fahrenden waldhornisten)
irr. app. (ext.) – Silence (from Their Little Bones [2018 edition])
Alfred Schnittke – Psalms of Repentance: No. 12 (Wordless Humming) (from Choral Works)

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