Alvin Lucier / Nick Hennies "Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas"
Originally released in 1972 (and realized anew in 1984), Alvin Lucier’s vibrating, minimal classic “Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas” is here reinterpreted with respect but joyful abandon by percussionist Nick Hennies. While percussion may never have allowed so much space and silence to surround its rhythm, Hennies holds his own within Lucier’s strict score and precisely pitched tone poems.
The four pieces here were intended by Lucier as compositions for instrumentalists and “fixed sine waves.” The first piece is more of a blueprint for sound, a low hum that Hennies follows along, adding a beat that both brings the listener back to center and suggests ways to see the hidden pulse of the wave.
The second track finds Hennies attacking the constant pulse with a hammering technique, equally as constant and penetrating. This may be the most uncomfortable (and provocative) for the listener, as two sounds not ordinarily seen or tolerated as music compete for space on the soundscape.
The pulse approaches the frequency of noise in the third piece, with Hennies offering slight pushback, with a series of quite snaps and pops. The final piece is meditative, evoking the first piece, with Hennies beats at slightly longer intervals and often allowed to echo, as if the true emotion of the set can be revealed now that the listener’s ear has adjusted somewhat.
Alvin Lucier was an early and consistent master or microtonal, minimal, repetitive music, often challenging the boundaries of what can be called music. In the hands of Nick Hennies, his classic “Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas” is given new life and reveals new aspects of its sonic secrets. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (28 July, 2010)