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music

Reuse Music

Carlo Diaz + Ugly Pug

Available on the 2021 album by Ugly Pug, Crossroads:

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There is a manuscript at the University of California, Berkeley attributed to Pietro Marchitelli, likely written in Naples around 1700. If it wasn’t incomplete it would contain 12 sonatas for two violins and continuo, and while it’s possible Marchitelli simply didn’t finish his work it seems more likely the missing parts are mere casualties to time. Reuse Music is built with, from, above, and alongside these ruins.

It can be said that a new composition is nothing more than a refiguring of its composer’s influence. Strange as it may seem, a similar thing can be said of the Early Music movement. Each is an expression of agency—value, taste, and informed opinion—drawing from the same sources—musicians, notations, and traditions past and present. Each is an act of simultaneous history and invention.

What happens when Marchitelli’s manuscript is read verbatim, the continuo unrealized and the melody unornamented? It becomes clear that its structures also lie at the heart of late 20th-century minimalism. What was happening at that same time in Early Music? That same minimalism, reduction to a core, adulation of pure form—eliminate vibrato, play more clearly, focus on the plain sound of the instrument—just from a different direction, toward a different purpose, and by a different method.

This music, under the title Reuse Music, is part of an ongoing attempt to filter, augment, and distort anonymous and fragmentary notation of the long 18th century to render audible the natural intersection of Early Music and contemporary composition; to push forward the project of historical, poetic, inventive, and personal refiguring, expression of value, taste, and informed opinion about musicians, notations, and traditions other than myself that are nevertheless inseparable from myself.