7 tracks / 40:43 min / 56.02 MB
The Aesthetics Of Everything
It's been a long time until the philosophical thought of indivisible and fundamental elements of matter, atoms, developed via the concepts of the antiquity and medieval alchemy into a consistent and explanative system. By the time the periodical table of the chemical elements was developed, smaller elements than the supposedly indivisible atoms already were constitutive for their description. Only shortly afterwards, the protons and neutrons that, together with electrons, build atoms, were confirmed to consist of even smaller units, called quarks. The now supposed elemental particles - quarks, along with electrons, neutrinos and their relatives - carry values of mass, energy, physical flavour and other attributes that seem to have no relation to each other at first sight. To explain these values, a new approach - the string theory - has proposed that all of these particles aren't actually zero-dimensional points of different characteristics, but one-dimensional strings, whose different oscillations constitute their attributes in a simple way, and in a relational system.
Unfortunately, the predictions of the string theory that explain the attributes of the fundamental elements of the universe in such a plain and elegant way were and still are far out of reach of experimental certification. Many physicists thus believe that arguments for or against the string theory are of a non-scientific, or even theological nature. But while the fact that a new and possibly important theory remains uncertified for a long time (measured in present-day progress in the natural sciences) is obviously undesirable, the underlying thoughts that make the scientists predict a more simple and aesthetic theory based on rough approximations of its equations is a basic principle of philosophical arguing and scientific progress. The conclusion to the easiest explanation, or 'abduction', as introduced by Charles Sanders Peirce, is methodologically similar to inductive reasoning, which is indispensable to empirical sciences, but fails to have that recognition.
While the string theory might still, however likely that is, turn out as a wrongly formed simplification of natural relations, the implications of its assumption must not be ignored. The discussion about aesthetics as a constitutive part of our world view is an enriching and exciting new point.
Special thanks to Sarah for putting up with my seemingly endless tweaking of the arrangements and sounds that make up this release. Additional thanks to the EM411 community for their 11th-hour feedback and encouragement, as well as thanks to the FOEM community for their backing of early versions of two tracks found within.
The Stadtgruen label was in our lense just two weeks ago (Net Decks 2), but how could we resist turning to their pages now that they have yet another tasty full-length for free download available from their site? Dustin Frelich aka The Stringed Theory has been absent from the outfit’s superb “Sprite” sampler of mid-June, which may make sense on purely stylistic considerations, but is a bit of a pitty, as his dreamy ambiances would have made for a perfect close to that release. Frelich plays a mellow kind of drone music with warm washes of waved synthesizer pads gently crashing on sun-bathed shores of deep bass pulsations. A delicate crackling, a digital pulsation far off hint at the notion of rhythm, while choral breaths and seemingly vocoded syllables in a foreign, but friendly tongue whisper invitingly. The separations between harmonic accompaniment, melodic motives and sound effect get blured in this woozy world of wonder and the mind comes to rest, like taking a refreshing shower after a hard day’s work. The word “heavenly” hardly ever seemed as appropriate as here. Take note: This is only the second Stringed Theory release and promises more noteworthy things in the future.
tokafi / Homepage
Now nearly 40 years old, the sad truth is that there are still precious few people who actually know what the whole idea behind String Theory is. "The Elegant Universe," the "theory of everything," what does all of it mean? Here's as simple a description as I can come up with: Quantum theory (which holds that the universe is made of finite amounts of things) and relativity (which holds the universe as smooth and continuous) are incompatible when dealing with extremely large or extremely small sizes or masses. String theory plugs the hole by describing matter as small, vibrating loops called excitation modes. Throw in a little about Rube Goldberg and flaws in the system and you have a pretty good idea of why the layman doesn't really get it. Scientists don't, either.
It's enough to make the average person's mind wrap around itself in an effort to take it all in. Diving head-first into the whole concept can be both mind-numbing and stressful. It is ironic, then, that The Stringed Theory is actually instant anti-stress music. Though inspired by the complexities of a theory that may or may not even be true, Vista, CA resident Dustin Frelich has made an album that inhabits the worlds of ambient electronic and post-shoegaze IDM. Fennesz and Belong are a good way to enter the protons, neutrons and bosons of Universal Relativity.
That's how it starts off, appropriately enough. "Boson" comfortably warms up the headphones as the opener, inhabiting a space with drones and force carrier particles to ease the brain. The bosonic string was the earliest model of string theory, so a subtle nod to make this the opener is both coy and virtually unnoticeable. The beauty of "Quark" is the most immediately touching to me, its guitars reminiscent of Belong's October Language that came out last year. Cosmic key tones and swirling guitar noise are also the meat n' potatoes of songs like "Sparticle" and "Parallel," while "Equivalence" chimes along with a simple electronic note progression that changes slowly over the course of its five-and-a-half minutes. With seven tracks running 40 minutes, the songs are in no hurry to grow on you, which they always do. Universal Relativity is sort of immediately striking in that you can remember one or two tunes the first time you play it through; to properly digest these recordings, however, one must play it back at least three or four times to take it all in. That said, it's a swell album. Sedate and pleasant, optimistic and playful, cosmic and coherent.
One of the best parts to the album? This stuff is all licensed under a creative commons license, so if you happen to love this track, there are plenty of places to go to get the rest of them for free. German-based netlabel Stadtgruen have chosen wisely in releasing their first American: Frelich has brought the best in ambient and minimalist drone to the table. For a group of like-minded individuals that have brought their culturally natural music together under the Stadtgruen name (Though their roster is full of electronic artists, their homepage is dominated by the image of a plant), one of your best places to start is The Stringed Theory. Just be prepared to take some heat from the growing number of String Theory disbelievers. If only they knew Universal Relativity, maybe they would change their minds.
Audiversity / Homepage
The Stringed Theory is the project of Dustin Frelich who projects his warm pulses and fuzzy drones into space out of California - but releases music on the Web-only label Stadtgruen, a German label which, with no recourse to the piss-taking masses, pitches itself boldly into the fray with a manifesto that seeks to explore the divisions between culture and nature and is named after the urban green spaces of Berlin. Frelich's own project is remarkably apposite to this in that it utilises the language of particle physics and the medium of electronics to create what is essentially a sound full of soothing bucolic warmth. It's difficult to listen to this album, especially loud with headphones, and not feel a certain enveloping heat-haze fall over you, or to feel buoyed up by a real sense of pulsing levitation. In many respects Universal Relativity feels (and it is an album that you absorb as much as hear) close to the textures the shoegaze bands explored at the beginning of the early 90s - not so much the raw volume of My Bloody Valentine but the sonic cave cathedrals of the very early Verve recordings, or what Slowdive were trying to do with Pygmalion: it has a similar sense of dynamic space and at times it feels like the surface of drones and oscillations are going to part and reveals obscure nascent songs. A gorgeous album. And to top it all, it's available as a free download.
mountain*7 / Homepage