AMN Reviews: Mia Zalbeka & Glen Hall – The Quantum Violin [FMR Records FMRCD622-0721]

Quantum Violin, an electroacoustic collaboration for Austrian violinist Mia Zabelka and Canadian composer/electronics artist Glen Hall, comprises fourteen tracks of violin that has undergone electronic modification, dismantling, rearrangement and reassembly. The album took shape in Vienna and Toronto during the covid years of 2020 and 2021 and consequently seems to have been a virtual collaboration—if so, it fittingly represents a kind of sonic spooky action at a distance, as was said of subatomic quantum phenomena themselves. A hint of the actual sound of the recording is given at the end of Hall’s bio, where he notes that, in addition to his musical work, he is a scholar of William Burroughs’ cut-up literary technique. And many of the tracks do sound like the musical analogue of a cut-up work. Through electronic processing the sound of Zabelka’s violin—plucked, bowed, and pushed to the limits of what the instrument was designed to do—breaks into fragments that evade, overflow, and double back on themselves. On Quantum Violin #8 the voice of Japanese cyberpunk author Kenji Siratori, reading from an original text, provides a ghostly undercurrent counterpointing Zagbelka’s vocodered violin.

Daniel Barbiero

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