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John Wall - JPop.com
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John Wall

John Wall

John Wall


John Wall (born 1950) is an autodidact electronic composer whose contribution to the field is widely noted by critics of new music. His work has moved from early plunderphonic compositions - where he brought together unlikely combinations of musical genres to create fantastical new works – to large scale works composed of thousands of tiny fragments which create the impression of virtual orchestras. Critics have remarked on “his extraordinary Read more on Last.fm
John Wall (born 1950) is an autodidact electronic composer whose contribution to the field is widely noted by critics of new music. His work has moved from early plunderphonic compositions - where he brought together unlikely combinations of musical genres to create fantastical new works – to large scale works composed of thousands of tiny fragments which create the impression of virtual orchestras. Critics have remarked on “his extraordinary feeling for musical narrative” which is achieved through a working method that has been described as “phenomenally painstaking”. According to one critic, Wall’s “releases sound like the most finely crafted audio sculptures, somewhere between the contemporary composition of Lachenmann and the experiments of early laptop musicians of the mid 90s.” At the age of 40 Wall acquired an FZ1 – a mono sampler with very little memory – and used this in conjunction with an 8-track reel-to-reel tape recorder to make his first plunderphoninc works which he released as Fear of Gravity on his own Utterpsalm imprint.

Fear of Gravity uses long, often identifiable samples from other people’s works as well as looping and repetition – all features which would quickly disappear from his work. John Wall has presented his work as tape playbacks at various events including at BBC Radio 3’s Mixing It and London Musicians Collective (LMC)'s “New Aura” concert series at South Bank Centre in 1997 and Sonic Arts Network’s “Cut & Splice” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2006. Both of these were broadcast by BBC Radio 3. In 1997 Wall was challenged by the LMC to make a live realisation of his work which combined both tape playback and live performers. "Untitled #4" was commissioned by LMC and Goethe Institut and performed at the ICA in London in 1997. The featured musicians were Jörg Widmann (clarinet), Peter Skaervard-Sheppard (violin) and John Edwards (double bass) and an excerpt from this performance was issued by LMC.

A number of other live realisations of his works followed including at Instant Chavires in Paris in 2002. A number of attempts have been made to transcribe John Wall’s works for live performers. Most recently, in 2009 Maarten Altena’s MAE ensemble commissioned a transcription of John Wall’s “Fractuur” which was performed (alongside works from fellow electronic composers, John Oswald and Francisco López in a programme entitled “Organised Sound” at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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