Music

Jean-luc Fafchamps: KDGhZ2SA, a Six-Letter Sufi Word

New music endeavor recalls Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies or Sufjan Stevens's 50 States Project.


Jean-luc Fafchamps

KDGhZ2SA

Label: Sub Rosa
US Release Date: 2012-04-10
UK Release Date: 2012-03-19
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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.

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