Last year, amongst many projects and collaborations, Qasim Naqvi composed Preamble, a wonderful collection of short chamber compositions performed by the Contemporary Music Ensemble of NYU, which then came out as an album. The incredible percussionist and composer, who is also one-third of longtime favourite band Dawn Of Midi, is ready to follow up that release with a new album of electronic music. Entitled Chronology, the album was composed for the Moog Model D analog synthesizer, and it saw Naqvi join forces with painter Pippo Lionni and the P! Gallery in New York. As the press release explains, “the collaboration chronicled a sharing of ideas between both artists as an asynchronous call-and-response where painting, music, and graphic notation blended through common and conflictual gestures.”. The compositions come paired with transcriptions, made using a graphic notational system designed by Naqvi himself. Here’s what he said about the project:
“I was keen on somehow mirroring Pippo’s process through sound. His paintings are made with a spare set of elements. With layers of transparency, interference, and graphic form, he is able to achieve a set of permutations with the basic ingredients of black acrylic enamel and a canvas. I was struck by his restraint and use of one color source, and the kind of visual distortion achieved through a process of slow layering. So for the music, I reacted by using an analog device instead of a computer.
When we think of a computer, we think of limitless options and an abundance of memory for recalling ideas. The Moog holds a reverse approach. It’s a tactile piece of machinery with discrete circuits, 3 voltage-controlled oscillators and knobs for controlling the contour of the oscillator. It’s monophonic, so chords or polyphonic playing is out of the question. The absence of this function required a layering of ideas in stages. Also, there’s no way of saving anything or recalling presets. Once you make a sound, that’s it. It exists in that moment unless you chronicle the settings by writing them down. It’s kind of like making a gesture with a brush. Once it strikes the canvas, you can either freeze it in time or erase it forever.”
Chronology arrives on November 4th via New Amsterdam Records and if you just can’t wait, get hold of it now exclusively through the label’s bandcamp subscription. For a taster of what’s to come, check out the album trailer below.