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Music Review

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Shapes of Inner Timespaces


Artist: Juan J.G. Escudero
Label: Neuma Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 19 March 2021

Music, since Ancient Greek times, has been called “number made audible.” Now, thanks to advances in technology beyond Plato’s dreams (not to mention the invention of useful but non-existent numbers), we have what we might call, “The Harmony of the Hyperspheres.” Imaginary spaces, complex algorithms, surfaces, colours, and shapes can all be described in terms of elegant and expressive equations. And those same qualities can be seen in images and structured as music...

If you can fathom what the above press synopsis is waffling on about, please write and let me know as it's all Greek to me. Sadly, this also applies to the "music" on this album.

Juan J.G. Escudero's Shapes of Inner Timespaces sounds too much like a '70s BBC Radiophonic Workshop album of soundscapes of the future. However, if the composer isn't pulling the wool over our eyes, he claims that he has incorporated a wide variety of high level math techniques, including spectralism, the compositional use of harmonic analysis of the overtone series of certain sounds. And on this album it's centred around temporal sequences.

The inspiration, as Escudero says, comes from mathematical quasicrystals, a research field with great activity in the past decades. “Relations between aperiodic but ordered temporal sequences derived from tiling theory and harmonic fields arising from the mathematical analysis of such sequences have been explored. The descriptions of the tilings in terms of word sequences in formal grammars have been significant in relation to musical form, providing a multidimensional space of textures and motivating organic links between musical materials at different temporal scales.”

That might sound impressive (if you even have the slightest understanding of it) but the question is, is it enjoyable to listen to? The short answer is "No!" The long answer is "Hell, No!"

Okay, I'm being facetious. Technically it's "interesting" but it is not an album I'd be sharing with anyone, nor replaying again any time soon.


Nick Smithson

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