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ClassicsOnline Home » HOLMEN, J.: Oort Cloud (Andersen, Halti, Snekkestad)
Take the Journey
Wikipedia tells us that the Oort cloud is “a hypothesized spherical cloud of comets which may lie roughly 50,000 AU, or nearly a light year, from the Sun.” It’s also the inspiration for Danish composer Jexper Holmen’s new release, titled (what else?) Oort Cloud.
The nearly hour-long piece is comprised of continuous sustained notes played on two accordions, punctuated by seemingly random sound fragments emitted via soprano saxophone. Holmen is not the first experimental composer to write for the accordion (think Charles Ives and Howard Skempton), but he might be the first to utilize the instrument to create weird, electronic-sounding tonalities.
His composition unfolds in a droning, trance-like form that initially seems to situate it in an ambient mode. But if this is ambient music, it’s of a strangely aggressive variety, as the massed tones vary in pitch and intensity in ways that demand one’s full attention. Partly this is due to the kind of radioactive sonic aura generated by the accordions, an effect heightened by background sounds that might be distant echoes of interstellar noise, or the muted wails of alien life forms. That’s not to suggest the music is heavy or oppressive. On the contrary, it somehow produces an enjoyable sensation of spiritual effusion.
Fittingly, Holmen’s sound cloud is as enigmatic and unfathomable as the real Oort cloud, drifting through the listener’s awareness and gently but firmly displacing everything in its path.more....
By Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Music Review
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HOLMEN, J.: Oort Cloud (Andersen, Halti, Snekkesta...