Jim O’Rourke – MIZU NO NAI UMI


Jim O’Rourke cites the influence of Folke Rabe and Phill Niblock when talking about this music, rediscovered in 2003 but originally conceived back in 1990, when the composer was just 21 and still in Chicago. Two versions of the piece are included, the first the original, the second (which I prefer) a live recording from Roulette with Tim Barnes on crotales and Karen Waltuch on viola. O’Rourke notes that though the music he was making between 1986 and 1991 is not something he values too highly these days, he appreciates the “gentle” and “gesture-less” qualities of this particular composition, which is indeed pretty static but certainly not immobile, full as it is of evident currents and clearly perceptible internal patterns whose effect is often comparable to the movement of harmonics in Tuvan throat singing. One of the most interesting aspects of O’Rourke’s early work has always been its ability to enhance the intrinsic value of each individual sound until it becomes the nucleus of a complex system of detection; in this instance, a simple unadorned electronic source gradually evolves into a multitude of resonant drones whose spontaneous self-regeneration might lack the frightening power of Niblock’s walls of adjacent tones but casts a beam of bright light onto the alien choirs and illuminates the path O’Rourke would take with his more recent music. The sheer beauty of Mizu No Nai Umi is something to cherish – though what we said and did in the past can’t be changed, it often reveals our true nature more faithfully.


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