Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Jean-luc Fafchamps

KDGhZ2SA

(Sub Rosa; US: 10 Apr 2012; UK: 19 Mar 2012)

Belgian composer Jean-Luc Fafchamps writes in an appealingly post-everything style, with diatonic minimalist gestures butting up against wheezy microtonal drones and so forth. Fafchamps’s latest muse is the Arabic alphabet, specifically a Sufi chart assigning certain characteristics to the various letters; he’s in the midst of writing an ode to each letter. This progress report documents a concert performance of his first “word”, which is—how about that?—paced like a concert.


“K” opens the show with big, gregarious horn fanfares, string flourishes, and heavy percussion; the lighter “D” contrasts pinched ostinatos with colorful clarinet and percussion runs. “Gh” slows everything down to a 14-minute gasp before a distorted oboe concerto and pastoral woodwind feature carry us through to the brawling open-form finale, which incorporates some of what we’ve already heard. Despite the conventional shape of the program, the individual “letters” don’t develop like musical narratives; they communicate a sense of stasis, even as their unique timbres and effects keep them revolving in your mind’s eye.

Rating:

Josh Langhoff is a church musician. He's written about music for The Village Voice, The Singles Jukebox, two EMP Pop Conferences, his church newsletter, his blogs Surfing in Babylon and The Flowtation Device, and the Burnside Writers Collective, where he also serves as music editor.


Media
Jean-luc Fafchamps - K
Related Articles
26 Apr 2011
The overall effect is somewhat chilling, but not in a scary way. It's sort of like being in a bare room where the walls are all painted white.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.