Alvin Lucier: Memory Space

Gareth Davis & Machinefabriek

A. (Ostrava) Memory Space
B. (Krakow) Memory space

lp on GOD records, July 2014

Order the album at
Norman Records or “Go to outside environments (urban, rural, hostilc, bcnign) and record by any means (memory, written notations, tape recordings) the sound situations of those environments. Returning to an inside performance space at any later time, re-create, solely bv means of your voices and instruments and with the aid of your memory devices (without additions, deletions, improvisation, interpretation) those outside sound situations."

Alvin Lucier

More info


5 Against 4

Last year, Davis explored the piece as a member of MAZE ensemble; that version was exhilarating & heavyweight, lasting a full hour, but what makes this new pair of shorter versions (each 20 minutes) even more engaging is that they’re the latest document in Davis & Zuydervelt’s long-standing collaboration, which over the last few years has produced some heart-stoppingly brilliant & immersive music. These performances originated in the Czech Republic; the first, from Ostrava, begins with a polarisation of barely-audible key tappings against a recorded voice. But it doesn’t take long for the bass clarinet to morph into something meta (Davis’ uncanny ability to do this pervades much of his output), melding into Zuydervelt’s field recordings & deep throbs. Indeed, many’s the time the roles seem reversed, the clarinet appearing almost synthetic beside the raw clarity of the recordings. Speaking of which, Zuydervelt’s manipulation of these recordings is often truly spectacular; at the conclusion of the Ostrava version he moves from lowercase noises that barely tickle the tweeters to a juddering overload burying the clarinet in wave after wave of bass & static. The second version, from Krakow, is more abstract, preoccupied by a threatening canvas of muted rumble; but Davis covers this canvas with a marvellous catalogue of sheer melodic shapes, slaps & spits so fierce they make one wince, alongside growls & whispers suggestive of an untamed beast, the pair this time heading for a conclusion in the form of a kind of distorted crunch. Both individually & in collaboration, it’s a hypnotic display of virtuosity, as well as being yet another reminder of how timeless is Lucier’s conceptual music. The next release in the series will feature music by Peter Ablinger; one can hardly wait. Davis tells me that Lucier: Memory Space is due for vinyl-only release imminently; details can be found here, & in the meantime an excerpt can be streamed below.