The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 5, 2006

The 4-4-2 Music e-Single of the Month Club

The 4-4-2 Music e-Single of the Month Club brings you a virtual 7" record
every month featuring quirky oddities and genre escapees. If you would
like to contribute to the e-Single of the Month Club, write to

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This program:

Sondheim - Death III b/w Death V - 442-net7-06jun

A departure from the usual electronic leanings, as 4-4-2 Music begins to
truly branch out, and we are proud to present these 2 tracks of improvised
zither tones. The tracks relate to mourning, the Alps, romanticism,

Death III is made playing what are known as an elegie concert zither and a
prime concert zither simultaneously. Concert zithers are also know as
Alpine zithers; they're difficult, have a fingerboard with frets on one
side. The elegie is a bit longer; the one in this recording is from around
1860 and was made by a relatively well-known German violin maker. The
prime is probably from around 1900-1920. Both needed repairs. Death V is
made playing the elegie alone.

The processing done on the tracks has been hiss removal (which also change
timbre), echo, some hard limiting. The pieces, taken from a larger suite
of 5 tracks, were played in order, and composed on the spot; there was
only one take for each, which is Sondheim's usual way of proceeding; it
emphasizes the exploratory nature of music, as well as its relation to
labour and the body.

Author: Sondheim
Keywords: lo-fi; zither; folk; improvised

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