Linked: Erik Satie
Linked is where I rummage through my notes and bookmarks for bits and bobs around a subject.
“My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, shredded bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coco-nuts, chicken cooked in white water, mouldy fruit, rice, turnips, sausages in camphor, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). I boil my wine and drink it cold mixed with the juice of the Fuschia. I have a good appetite but never talk when eating for fear of strangling myself.”
– Erik Satie, A Day in the Life of a Musician (via UbuWeb)
Erik Satie was fond of invented musical taxonomy: gnossiennes, gymnopédies, vexations, ogives. His concept of furniture music was essential to the development of minimalist and ambient music. And shitty elevator music.
Branka Parlić’s unhurried pace – what I imagine Satie meant when he instructed the performer to play the pieces lent et douloureux (slowly, sadly, gravely) – has pretty much ruined other renditions for me: they come off as sloppy and hasty in comparison. I’ve probably listened to her album Initiés ‘88 - Initiés ‘99 a hundred times. Sadly, it’s been out of print for a while, so no chance to get it in a physical format. Next, listen to her play piano works by Philip Glass to convince yourself you should buy her latest album.
Eisoptrophobia translates as “fear of, or aversion to, reflections”, the light version of which has possibly been impressed upon me by the seriously unsettling mirror scene in the film Below that resulted in this ominous undertone to any mirror gazing ever since. But it’s also the name of an album by Akira Rabelais who crafts distorted, shimmering pieces based on music by Satie, Bartók and Carté.
“The smallest work by Satie is small in the way that a keyhole is small. Everything changes when you put your eye to it–or your ear.”
– Jean Cocteau
Further down the distorsion spectrum, we’ve got Bionulor a.k.a. Sebastian Banaszczyk’s Erik, a reworking of Satie’s Gymnopédies that Luke Turner accurately describes as “the sound of a hangover inside Brian Eno’s splendid dome after he’s had a terrible sherry-fuelled row with William Basinski…”
Finally, in what could have been an early Christmas, it seems that every contemporary piano player I know about and listen to is featured on the compilation Erik Satie et les nouveaux jeunes. We’ve got Max Richter, Rachel Grimes, Sylvain Chauveau, Hauschka, Eluvium, Dustin O’Halloran, Nils Frahm, all the cool kids. The original is out of print, but some sort of reissue is going on. Fingers crossed!