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Definitely disco


Disco in all its stylistic manifestations is something I’ve always enjoyed; from Kraftwerk though to a continuing obsession with the music of Underworld. This is a music that, like Mozart, exudes a palpable sense of physical pleasure. Disco is probably the most significant vernacular form to originate in recent times. Ironically the music is connected to the ‘feel’ of the drum machine and associated electronic instruments like the sampler. I guess vernacular dance practice has always informed the abstraction of art music. And dance itself somehow influenced by the musical instrument technology of a time. (The ‘without end’ quality of machines connects clubbing more to say, marathon running than to the polite rituals of enlightenment courtship) String instrument technology and string quartet culture is certainly from another era. But it still holds creative possibilities. The project would appear to be to understand how this old technology might be creatively involved in new forms.

In recent times ‘dance music’ musicians have explored, in the hedonistic context of the club, the ways that sound works with or on the body. It’s the way perception transforms through repetition. Attention to the grain of the pulse and the way it manipulates sensation. ‘Repetition and difference’ is something that philosophers and concert hall artists have also found consequent. There is also stillness at the centre of the dance act that is reminiscent of prayer or meditation. Dance is not about switching off. It’s actually hard to dance if you’re wasted. Contemplation though dancing maybe! But that’s a longer piece of writing.

While string quartet music is never going to ‘play’ in the dance hall I hope that some of the spirit and pleasure of that context has infected this work. Definitely Disco was commissioned by the Greenwich international String Quartet Festival.

from notes by Andrew Poppy © 2011


Studio Master: SIGCD236Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 5 on SIGCD236 [5'54] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD236 track 5

Recording date
1 January 2010
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Alexander Van Ingen & Tim Oldham
Recording engineer
Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. Dance (SIGCD236)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: February 2011
    Download only
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