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THE HARMONIC SERIES: Musical works in Just Intonation
A collection of pieces in just intonation (explained in the booklet, but essentially a venerable system using only notes projected from a single starting pitch using the natural harmonic series: whole-number ratios, in which the beats fall into co-ordinated polyrhythms). Commonly used in much of the world's music, just intonation is unfamiliar to our ears which are, from childhood, habituated to the compromises of twelve tone equal temperament. Harry Partch was a pioneer of just intonation. That said, these pieces are mostly not Partchlike but more meditative, working, in turn, with a long string installation (Ellen Fullman), synthesised sounds, re-tuned piano, bowed guitar, customised accordion (Pauline Oliveros), fretless zither, mixed ensemble and something unidentifiable and undeclared. Oliveros's piece stands out, with its highly evolved affective sensibility, but Michael Harrison (piano), Duane Pitre (zither - he also put this compilation together) and Ellen Fullman/Theresa Wong all score on the felt, expressed, organic, tactile level too. This is about sound and its minutiae as well as a useful sampler and, overall, is a record well worth investigating, and for the few really excellent pieces on it. With a thorough booklet, nicely designed, and printed on substantial paper in pungent ink.