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Christian Marclay & Otomo Yoshihide


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Christian Marclay’s name should be well known to any connoisseur of experimental music. Although his use of the turntable as an instrument started in the late ’70s—around the same time as the rise to prominence of the pioneer hip-hop DJs—Marclay has always seemed much more rooted in the mid-century development of “musique concrète,” which is created by manipulating pre-existing sound sources (as opposed to electronic music, which is created with synthesizers). Yoshihide Otomo followed a similar path, starting with a youthful hobby of building electronic sound-generating devices and making tape collages. He then immersed himself in free jazz and experimental rock, becoming best known in the ’90s through his group Ground Zero. On Moving Parts, the two create an intense, noisy tapestry of sound, encompassing a wide range of sources—from the baroque-sounding flute and harpsichord snippet that opens the CD to squalls of Hendrix-flavored guitar, opera, flamenco, movie soundtrack music, purely electronic sound, and so on. Marclay firmly favors the analog, intentionally letting his records get scratched and even gluing pieces of vinyl together, while Yoshihide employs mainly digital methods. The combination helps keep the sound from getting homogenous. Unlike a lot of the people identified with turntablist world, they never go for laughs with sharply contrasting stylistic juxtapositions or the ironic use of spoken-word records. Sometimes the source materials are pummeled and entirely reshaped, and other times a melodic quotation will stand out untreated; the results are at times reminiscent of Stockhausen’s “Hymnen” or Eric Salzman’s “Nude Paper Sermon.

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