Warren Burt Harmonic Colour Fields
François Couture, All Music Guide::
"Harmonic Colour Fields culls five microtonal works created
Warren Burt explains in the liner notes that the title refers
to the "color field" minimalist painters of the
'60s and '70s, and indeed the music keeps more than a vague
resemblance to these monochrome paintings.
Burt uses programmable synthesizers or computer software
to create alternative equal
temperament scales. Using these, he explores the harmonic
relations of consonance and dissonance. In fact, the track
list has been set so that you move from the most consonant
to the most dissonant, and given that you have the patience
to sit through the 70 minutes, the transformation is quite
something to witness. "Portrait of Erv Wilson" uses
a pre-Pythagoran arithmetic table that also inspired Harry
Partch and his tonality diamond.
A gentle study in perfect tonality, it conditions the ear
to the composer's crude digital synth sounds. "Portrait
of John Chalmers" uses a 24-tone scale, which sounds
a bit more alien but remains strongly harmonious. By "Adjacencies,"
your conception of harmony is beginning to change as your
ear "accepts" stranger and stranger chords (this
piece uses a combination of 11-, 13-, and 17-tone scales).
But nothing can prepare you for the swarming mass of "48>53;
53>48," a chord of harmonics in the proportion of
Burt's music can recall Phill Niblock's drones, but it tends
to be shorter and more eventful, although this is clearly
not music for the casual listener."