Viennesian Snares
December 3, 2016 10:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for electronic music that foregrounds pitch.

Background: I love electronic music, and I love far-out Western concert music. It's been my experience that even avowed sonic explorers like Autechre don't focus too hard on pitch as an element. Sure, they have a lot of cool snaky melodies and inharmonic tones, but mostly they seem to treat pitch as a simple skeleton to lay their timbral and formal work over, sticking to pretty straightforward modal material most of the time, often sticking with the same mode over the course of a whole song. There are some counter-examples: "GRM Blue II" from Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin's Instrumental Tourist has some cool harmonies, but even here the functional pitch material is mostly confined to one harmonic minor scale in the bass, with the chords above acting as Impressionist-style coloration of what is essentially a single voice countermelody.

So who are the harmonic wild people in this scene? Who's making insane, astringent sounds from a bunch of chromatic lines? Who's making microtonal masterpieces? Do they exist, or is it contrary to the timbral bent of the genre? If possible, recommendations for musicians outside of academia are preferred -- this may be a tall order, but I'm really hoping for music that also foregrounds and delights in mood. I like academic computer music, but that's not really a concern in that sphere in my experience.
posted by invitapriore to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
These are old, but Wendy Carlos's Beauty In The Beast (and to a lesser extent Digital Moonscapes) has the harmonic experimentation you're talking about.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:10 AM on December 4, 2016

Ah, yeah, I should have been more explicit -- I was thinking of Beauty in the Beast when I wrote "microtonal masterpieces," but I was curious if anyone was doing that sort of thing now.
posted by invitapriore at 9:26 AM on December 4, 2016

maybe one way to find artists is to ask who is exploring different tonal systems? for example, is anyone from the "west" looking at arabic music (maqam), or vice versa? google turns up this article from last year.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:31 PM on December 4, 2016

You might be interested in MC Maguire (discussion by Kyle Gann). A couple of his albums are on Spotify.
posted by dfan at 10:43 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

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