In some ways Along A Vanishing Plane by Christopher Tignor is as much as an act of resistance as it is a record album. In the role of composer, performer, and software engineer, Tignor is on a noble mission to counter and transcend forces of banality that obstruct meaningful interaction on many levels – personal, societal, and creative.
“This music is first and foremost about what can be done together, live in a room, to both transcend and reclaim ourselves from the noise of public living….These songs offer wordless hymns and pulsing harmonic frameworks one might use to focus their own contemporary values”
Other modern classical composers like Max Richter and Nils Frahm have staged their own revolt against social & cultural cacophony with very quiet music, but Tignor takes a slightly different approach here that still embraces thoughtful minimalism but is also imbued with a visceral energy and an anthemic quality to evoke a kind of secular liturgy that inspires the listener to rise above rather than retreat. He accomplishes this with the compositions themselves as well as the choice of particularly tactile instruments – violin, kick drum, and tuning forks. But that, apparently, was only half the battle.
“To engage with ritual is to engage with time. I needed to create a way to play solo that would let me wield the temporal freedom of expressive instrumental music with the full palette of modern electronic forces.”
This is where Tignor called on himself as a software engineer to solve the problem. He ruled out backing tracks, click tracks, and even live looping – anything that would, in his words, “would enforce a strict grid”. The idea behind the software he invented and employed does just that, keeping control in the hands of the performer allowing him to always remain present in the moment react to the dynamics of the room, the audience, and, when not performing solo, other musicians (read about & obtain the software here).
This offers an unprecedented amount of control over this music’s elastic sense of time. Electronic music without the grid. There’s so much space in this music, it’s just essential – listening to a phrase decay in the room before proceeding…
The outcome of all of this is a thought-provoking album of expressive beauty and invigorating power that will resonate in the ears and mind long after it is over. Along A Vanishing Plane will be available on September 16 from Western Vinyl on CD and 2xLP. Tignor has also made performance videos of numerous tracks here on his own site.