A few days ago the music theorist Kevin Holm-Hudson shared a Soundcloud file to my Facebook timeline. Almost the same time the artist John Emr posted the same link to Hey Exit’s file. And it’s a good one. Hey Exit has time-stretched every recording of Erik Satie’s famous first Gymnopedie in its original piano version (so no Three Dog Night) to the length of the longest version.
Sounds a bit gimmicky? Well, there is a good precedent in British experimental music for the presentation of simultaneous versions of a particular piece (Christopher Hobbs’ McCrimmon Will Never Return, having four variant versions of the original piobaireachd lament played together). Also—and I don’t know if I’m reaching a bit here—the combination of the reverb on this recording and the arpeggiated attacks, due to variants in expression, create a sound that reminds me of Southern Californian ‘pretty music’: to an extent, Harold Budd’s ‘soft pedal’ style, but also the 1970s ABC recording of Daniel Lentz’s Song(s) of the Sirens. A gorgeous experiment; thanks so much for sharing, Kevin and John; thanks for making, Hey Exit!