AMN Reviews: Ian Vine – held/always/immer/gehalten

Ian Vine: held/always/immer/gehalten [IV1201]

This, the second full-length release from British composer Ian Vine, is a set of four works for electric guitar ensembles of varying sizes. There would seem to be two themes organizing this music: Duration and latent harmony. The former is hinted at by the compositions’ titles—held and always and their German equivalents—while the latter is embedded in the music itself. Through drones and slow harmonic movement based on limited pitch material, Vine elicits a surprisingly rich tapestry of overtones and emergent harmonics. The sound seems to unfold in geological time—but the attentive listener will get swept along, albeit very slowly, with the music’s movement. Sometimes this movement comes about by virtue of the placement of very slow arpeggios over drones, the slight dissonances of which create a subtle drama and feeling of imminence. Other times it’s a matter of discovering subtle changes as overtones emerge from and then submerge back into the sonic foundation.