Vexations

by Lauri Wuolio

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"Around 1893, Erik Satie composed a piece called Vexations. Consisting of swaying notes and chords, the piece lasts only a few minutes, but at the bottom of the sheet Satie included a mysterious and perhaps humorous instruction: “To be repeated 840 times”. Although Satie himself apparently never performed the piece, it has since then been performed several times. The first and perhaps the most famous of the performances was the eighteen-hour session organized by John Cage in 1963.

The Whitecolors collective and Kiasma give a contemporary feel to Satie’s composition. Twelve experimental musicians will use a MIDI score of Vexations playing at double speed on their own electronic devices or computers, or use the visuality of the MIDI notes in some totally different way. The idea is to create a series of different performances that will all nevertheless have the same starting point."

This album consists of my 45 minute rendition of Vexations, which was performed live in Kiasma Café, Helsinki, October 2012. I chose to work with slowly evolving ambient beats because it reminded me of Satie's idea of "furniture music". Beats all over cafés and restaurants these days, just as pianos once were. Along analog and electronic drum sounds I use samples of prepared piano, which is not only a reference to John Cage but also a reminder, that piano is a percussion instrument, after all.

This version of Vexations is performed with a Maschine Mikro sampler.

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released November 22, 2012

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Lauri Wuolio Finland

Lauri Wuolio is a sound artist and a street musician. His solo performances consist of improvised rhythmic textures, where the concepts of a song and linear time are not of much use. Intertwining patterns and themes transform and mutate into long meditative passages that celebrate both repetition and change. Currently, he works on his Kumea Sound album, to be released in late 2013. ... more

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