A cloud becomes the sky
January 16, 2016 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Every recording of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie 1” played at the same time, stretched to the length of the longest recording. About 60 versions of the piece incorporated - "less than I thought I would find, but enough," says the arranger. A lovely piece of musical architecture to roam around in. [via the always-excellent Disquiet.]
posted by naju (32 comments total) 112 users marked this as a favorite
That is great, and beautiful. Could be right at home on Obscure Records, nestled somewhere between David Toop and Harold Budd.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 4:32 PM on January 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Satie would love this.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:36 PM on January 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

Wow that is amazing. Thanks very much.
posted by djstig at 4:40 PM on January 16, 2016

The haunting portrait asks a question, and the notes tinkle, like a metal snowstorm on Venus. It evokes both wonder and impends in a supersaturated fashion. There is no grasping that soap bubble. As a singular event Gymnopodies 1 is one of my two favorite pieces of music, along with Debussy's Reverie.
posted by Oyéah at 4:41 PM on January 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

One of the best songs ever written. Great idea.
posted by saul wright at 4:43 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

A lot of good classical stuff being posted. Keep it up!
posted by kevinbelt at 4:58 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wonder if this is what it would sound like if we were to convert an Impressionist painting to song...
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:09 PM on January 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

Also this is my favorite rendition, though I do wish it didn't have the ambient noise in the background.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:10 PM on January 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

I love this.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:34 PM on January 16, 2016


Now I want to see the washing machine video stretched to fit this.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:52 PM on January 16, 2016 [9 favorites]

This is so pretty. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Evstar at 6:11 PM on January 16, 2016

Gorgeous. Would also be super at-home on Kompakt.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:28 PM on January 16, 2016

Whats the version that plays during the heaven sex scene in the art house porno Night Dreams?
posted by Ferreous at 6:47 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a similar concept for Gnossienne 4, I have a feeling I came by it via Primordial MetaFilter somehow.
posted by um at 6:51 PM on January 16, 2016

"opulent minimalism" Indeed. Sublime. Thank you for posting this.
posted by pjsky at 7:10 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

though I do wish it didn't have the ambient noise in the background.

I dunno, I kind of like it. It adds a fitting sort of texture. I can't seem to find the words to describe why, though.

Something about uniqueness in time, performance, magic, memory, discovery, atmosphere, strange combinations adding up to more than their parts. Something about the spirit of jazz, perhaps. Life going on anyway. Cafes, attention, appreciation, hidden treasures in the everyday. There's a sort of poetry to artifacts of the past, records of existing in a place... at a certain moment in time. The specificity of it. And the universality: the urge to scrawl "I was here," on park benches and that sort of thing. But also the impermanence of it all... not just the records, but of existence. And isn't that a strange, almost hubristic act in itself... to displace space. As if to say to the folds of space-time, "Move over! I'm existing here. Make room."

Gosh... it seems to be hitting me on all fronts... maybe some things are better not thought about... but just left experienced.
posted by Flaffigan at 7:31 PM on January 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

The juxtaposition of the sublime and the mundane... that's part of it, for sure. But it's how they're like tuned to the same mood.

Plus all that other stuff.

There's just no way to describe it, really.

Or it's beyond my ability, at least.

But it's what I love about music anyway.
posted by Flaffigan at 7:41 PM on January 16, 2016

Interesting but didn't love it, seemed kinda muddy. The notes in Satie seem so precise yet ephemeral. Now a chart of the simultaneous tones visually might be more interesting.
posted by sammyo at 8:43 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

A fog of the essential. Marvellous.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:03 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by Gymnopedist at 9:33 PM on January 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sounds like the outro to a Sufjan song. Very nice.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:34 PM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sounds a bit like Cocteau Twins' version of Gymnopaedia, played by Conlon Nancarrow.
posted by kandinski at 9:54 PM on January 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

This is beautiful, and has the nice property of working really well both as sound object and conceptual exercise, so bravo to the arranger.

On a tangential note, though, I really disagree with the interpretation of whoever's responsible for the slowest-tempo recording in this. In the abstract you could certainly claim that a marking of "lent" admits the ~45 BPM tempo being played there, but the lilting waltz rhythm just gets totally lost in the sense of stasis you get when you play it that slow.
posted by invitapriore at 11:02 PM on January 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

My 2nd favorite piano piece ever. It's just so...perfect. Even though he spells Erik correctly, and his work is magnificent, my first piano work has always been Debussy's First Arabesque.

And that was true before I first saw Jack Horkheimer's show. It's a magnificent piece, and you probably know it, but if you do not, you should.
posted by eriko at 11:33 PM on January 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

I agree with you invitapriore. I think you lose a lot in terms of phrasing in the left hand when the first and second beat of each measure are so far apart. That rhythm in the left hand really underpins everything, and you lose a lot when its components don't feel like a steady pulse. I'm curious what this sounds like if you exclude the slowest interpretations; I bet the really slow interpretation had a positive effect on this experiment.

I'd love to see this done with 2 and 3.
posted by Gymnopedist at 11:37 PM on January 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

Just yesterday I was reflecting on the fact that Spotify seems to think I want to hear Erik Satie every third song (let's be real - I basically do). This is perfect.
posted by annathea at 7:45 AM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

So lovely. I feel a bit guilty about how much I enjoy the Gymnopedie and the Gnossiennes. They are terrific music, but also odd music, a one-off exception both for Satie and for the era. In some sense they are a dead end, like art nouveau. (Maybe there's a parallel here, in music Serialism destroyed Romanticism the way in design Bauhaus destroyed Art Nouveau?)

I'd love to hear this music layering treatment for other spare piano pieces. I have a sad suspicion that they all end up sound more similar than different.

(Gymnopedist wins the award for most eponysterical user ever.)
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm picturing this coming out of Xenakis' 96 speaker installation at the Philips Pavilion (Expo '58).
posted by cleroy at 5:06 PM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

this is awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:12 PM on January 17, 2016

I love Gymnopedie. Spare enough to be used as worm up, but so much more interesting than a scale. It reminds me of when I played music, instead of just listened. My son is now playing the same instrument, and I'm eager for him to play it too.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 6:31 PM on January 17, 2016

this is beautiful, lovely, wonderful.
posted by rebent at 8:29 PM on January 17, 2016

Dang, this was actually on my list of things to do.
posted by Theta States at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2016

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