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Nicholas Szczepanik, "Not Knowing"

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cover imageThe single piece that makes up this album began life three years ago as part of Szczepanik's hand-made, subscription based Ante Algo Azul series.  Expanded from its original 18 minute duration to a full 53 minute length, it maintains the identity of the original work while building upon it dramatically.  This new version in some ways feels like simply more, and in this case that is a perfectly good way to rework the piece.

Desire Path Recordings

The aforementioned subscription series of 3" CDRs that Szczepanik released in 2011 seemed to, at the time, represent him taking different approaches and techniques with his art.  In some cases, experiments such as these run the risk of delving into self-indulgence, but these 12 pieces never did such a thing.  As evidenced, those experiments did make for jumping off points into longer, more developed works such as this, and while the sketch of Not Knowing previously released stood powerfully on its own, Szczepanik expands on it in every way while keeping the emotional core of the piece the same.

Like the early version, Not Knowing begins with a hushed, surging low end pulse that seems to go on a bit longer, exhibiting small, microtonal changes in sound that slowly build up the sound.  This initial passage has a cold, detached feel to it that soon turns lighter, bringing in soaring tones and uplifting bits that capture the sun's warmth on a cold winter's day.  While uplifting, there is a subtle, dramatic flair to it that leads to grandiose, dramatic highs of beauty.

What sets the long-form version of this apart is that the piece then drifts into a pensive, melancholic space, conjuring memories ghosts of the past.  Simultaneously nostalgic and chilling, it reaches further into emotional directions that were only hinted at in the original piece.  Concluding in the manner that it began, Not Knowing comes full circle, both sonically and emotionally, back to that more isolated, frigid feeling that started it all.

Nicholas keeps the changes and alterations to a tasteful minimum while adding a significant amount of new content.  Like a short film that is expanded to a full length feature, Not Knowing is a completely realized work based upon one that stood strongly by itself.  Its changes are done by the hand of an already accomplished young composer that deserves to be recognized as one of the current masters of the genre, and is an extremely fitting tribute to Eliane Radigue.

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 15:57  


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