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Albert Mayr
Proposte Sonore
(Ants) CD

This latest release on the Italian record label Ants collects 7 works of late-sixties electronic music and one later piece from the 1980s by the Italian composer Albert Mayr. In the 1960s, Mayr was a member of the Studio di Fonologia Musicale (known, affectionately, as S 2F M) in Florence, which was founded by the composer Pietro Grossi. Grossi's fascinating and groundbreaking music has only recently (and, sadly, posthumously) begun to be more widely known with a pair of releases: Musica Automatica on Die Schachtel and a collection of sinewave studies called Battimenti on Ants. On six of the eight pieces here, Mayr used the Battimenti as the primary raw material for his own music. There is nothing untoward about this, since Grossi had invited his students and colleagues to use his work "for various compositional purposes." In Battimenti, Grossi systematically combined sinewaves of near frequencies, creating harmonic pulsations or battimenti (literally, beats). Whereas Grossi's works were almost impossibly static other than the oscillating beats, which shifted with mathematical precision in thirty-second increments, Mayr's pieces have a more linear, compositional development, as he threads Grossi's quavering, bell-like tones into a slightly less rigorously minimal, musical narrative that is often simultaneously unsettling and beautiful. Mayr's Proposte are both enthralling and surprisingly accessible, especially given some of his later, forbiddingly conceptual work. While it's not a ground-breaking work, Proposte is essential listening for sinusoidal aficianados and casual fans alike.


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