Gunner Moller PEDERSEN
A Sound Year
Recorded at Octopus Studio, Copenhagen, 1977-1982
Re-mixed at DIEM, Arhus, 1997-1999
Recording producer: Gunner Moller Pedersen
Sound engineer: Claus Pedersen
DACAPO 8.224174-79 [6CDs:
A year in six hours - or twelve months in electronic music, as its composer
calls it. This Wagnerian undertaking by Gunner Moller Pedersen is nothing
less than the depiction, in electronic music, month by month, of the passage
of a whole year.
In practical terms the piece is in quadraphonic sound. Pedersen calls his
music "spatial" - multi-channel music with preferably four speakers, utilising
reverberation and phasing to intensify the sense of space. Optimum listening
conditions are therefore larger spaces - unsurprisingly A Sound
Year has been performed in galleries and in concert halls and also shown
on films and television.
And what of Pedersen's music? His muse certainly inclines to the gargantuan
but this student of Per Norgard and Cornelius Cardew also has poetic and
mathematical interests. Each month in music lasts almost exactly thirty minutes,
each is prefaced with several lines of poetry - elliptical, tangential, spare
- and in an hilariously unreadable programme note from 1977 we are told that
a sound year "is a concept, an imaginary unit" and are treated to a paragraph
about the oscillations of the universe.
January begins with electronic flurries of sound, percussive "incidents"
which alert one to the pictorial element in this music. February, for example,
seems to suggest ice melting, March's insistent "brass" plip plops to a thaw.
May assumes a distinctly inter-Galactic hue, June embraces Schoenberg and
July treats us to electronic stasis, an enervating languor. August - rather
excitingly - bursts into storm and a shimmering rain before October's weird
pulse beats, November's lashing wind and December's calm resolution end the
Clearly there are elements here of abstraction and naturalism - fitting battle
grounds in contemporary art where A Sound Year provides a soundtrack
variously insistent and nondescript. Pedersen asks us to listen attentively
or inattentively, consciously or unconsciously and that he hopes his music
brings pleasure. In that his hopes are as modest as his music is long. But
it is a good hope and others may well enjoy his year in sound rather more