Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri (Light Flowers Dark Flowers) – its title inspired by an intersection in Milan – is the second in the series of four solo recordings Alvin Curran issued in the 1970s and early 1980s, preceded by Songs and Views from the Magnetic Garden (1975), followed by The Works (1980) and Canti Illuminati (1982).
Each of these solo works combines field recordings with performances on synthesiser, various acoustic instruments, and voice, arranged in languorously paced, dreamy sequences. Far from the bracing pointillism of much musique concrete, the elements encountered on the meandering course followed by Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri – whether a frenetic piano improvisation, dense layers of Serge synthesiser and ocarina, or a monologue from Frederic Rzewski’s five-year old son, Alexis – often occupy the foreground of our attention for minutes at a time. As Curran explains, his approach is like that of a filmmaker in the editing process, working with “whole blocks of recorded time”.
The purring of a cat, toy piano, a child counting, plaintive synthesiser tones, the cacophony of exotic birds at the London Zoo – each disappears into the next, until, on the LP’s second side, a solo piano performance takes centre stage, moving unexpectedly from percussive minimalist permutations to a halting rendition of Georgia on My Mind. A subtle yet stunning work that more than forty years on still seems charged with possibility, Fiori Chiari, Fiori Oscuri arrives in a loving reproduction of the original sleeve, featuring Edith Schloss’ beautiful cover painting, remastered audio and with new liner notes by Alvin Curran and Francis Plagne.
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download
Democratic, irreverent and traditionally experimental, Curran travels in a computerized covered wagon between the Golden Gate and the Tiber River, and makes music for every occasion with any sounding phenomena -- a volatile mix of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, fog horns, fiddles and fiddle heads. He is dedicated to the restoration of dignity to the profession of making non-commercial music as part of a personal search for future social, political and spiritual forms.
Curran's music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal...) in a serene dialectical encounter. His more than 200 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Whether in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chamber music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language from all the languages through dedicated research and recombinant invention.