Tristan Perich – 1 Bit Symphony

Earlier this year everyone was getting very excited about Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony, the conceptual CD release that combines the structural sweep of classical composition with the gallery aesthetic of sound art. Well, it was finally released on Cantaloupe today. Of course, the cool thing to have is the handmade jewel case-cum circuit board, but if you want a quick 1-Bit fix then the five-movement Symphony is also available as an mp3 download. And because I luvs ya, here’s a free download of the first movement for your enjoyment.

1-Bit SymphonyTristan Perich
“1-Bit Symphony: Movement 1” (mp3)
from “1-Bit Symphony”
(Cantaloupe Music)

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7 thoughts on “Tristan Perich – 1 Bit Symphony

  1. I fail to see what this has got to do with the idea of the “symphonic”… while the CD case concept is obviously cool and the engineering is presumably clever, the actual music seems repetitive in a quite boring and insistent way. It reminds me a bit of the “Legend of Zelda” Nintendo music (which was definitely not boring), but more lo-fi, and lots less charming.
    I know the word “symphony” is a loaded term but if this use to describe an electronica album qualifies then does the term mean anything at all? 😉
    (or is that the point that I seem to be missing?)

    1. Re. The ‘symphonic’ – I think what I like about it is less that it is symphonic in sense we recognise in Beethoven, Mahler, etc – and more that it attempts to achieve something so grand and culturally significant from such compromised origins. Whether it does is beside the point, I think: it’s to do with the aggrandisement of extremely limited technology (which is itself anti-symphonic, symphonic performances being technologically extremely complex).

      Of course, one could say why not go around slapping the label ‘symphonic’ on anything, but that would bring us back to the old Cage argument (“My child could have done that” / “Yes, but your child didn’t, I did.”), and nobody wants that. I think the fact that it has been done in this case – for a piece of work that is original and significant in its own small way – is valid and adds to the interest.

  2. @Tim Benjamin

    Listen to the first movement to understand what Mr. Perich means when he refers to his very unique album as a “symphony”.

  3. Hello Feryl,

    Well, I did listen to the first movement before I posted previously, and I’m afraid to say that I got a headache! I didn’t get any revelations as to what was symphonic about the music though. Perhaps it is ironic and I am too stupid to see that? TRJ above says that the label “symphonic” adds to the interest – I think it is the only interest, unless the music opens up into something much more substantial in the following movements. Are we supposed to look at the cool concept and say “wow”, and then ignore the boringness of the music? Is the concept it?

    Or is there some message in the medium that I am missing?

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