Carl Craig & Moritz Von Oswald going classical ?
It’s a match made in heaven. Two of the most innovative and influential producers of electronic music join forces for a very special project. Detroit legend Carl Craig and Berlin’s dub-techno originator Moritz von Oswald have been busy recomposing three pieces from an original recording of the Berlin philharmonic orchestra from 1987, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. Having to choose from the immense back catalogue of Deutsche Grammophon, the pair finally decided to recompose one of the biggest classical hits in Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”. But not just that, they also recomposed Ravel’s “Rapsodie Espagnola” and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Bilder einer Ausstellung”.The result is a hypnotic sound which brings together the worlds of classical music and electronic, and a truly innovative project.
It actually reminds me of the collaboration work between Aphex twin and Philip Glass. The parallels between classical and techno were there from the beginning (no pun intended) of course, when Derrick May used samples of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on “It Is What It Is”. More recently the emphasis has been on classical interpretations of electronic music – for example Warp’s London Sinfonietta collaboration (a little on the worthy-but-dull side) and Jeff Mills “Blue Potential” (entertaining, but unlikely to appeal to anyone outside the techno fan-base). My review is from a viewpoint of a techno fan who doesn’t really know the original works. It could serve as the soundtrack to the climactic scenes of some visionary post-apocalyptic movie, the dark and romantic dense harmonies pushing at the seams of the organic and cyclic percussion and melodies. The final movement loops lush strings and burnished, deep-toned orchestral bells with a gentle, warm drone of spatially morphing electronics, the composition held together here by the pulse of slot drums, congas, gourds and shakers. Maurice Ravel was, it seems, a man often critical of his own compositions. Well, I haven’t got any doubt as the relevence of hearing this piece of work all over again. Edgar Fruitier, whom I actually met this week, would be proud.