Rule of Three



by György Ligeti

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Repeated patterns cycle and loop, overlapping to produce a chaotic wall of motion. In its mechanic relentlessness, this movement evokes the circuitous dance of a robot, tireless and unchanging. At the same time, we hear the frantic clicking and tapping of the solo harpsichord prompted to produce these sounds. But despite the composition’s busy nature, there is a sense of stillness underlying the whirring activity. The harmony moves slowly, unwinding as if rising from the instrument. We imagine the tones drifting free to hover above the motoric commotion, like a ghost out of the machine.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe

The Roots of the Moment

by Pauline Oliveros

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The reedy voice of an accordion creeps into earshot, sustaining long drones and subtly shifting harmonies. Gradually, the notes splinter into shards, exuding a brightness that almost brings us to flinch away. In this live album, Pauline Oliveros’ solo accordion is augmented with an array of electronics, with acoustic and artificial sources fusing to create the impression of a single super-instrument. But despite the technical remove of the work’s production, its effect is rooted in the physical immediacy of the performance. The touch of Oliveros’ cyborg hands are felt in every gesture.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


developed by Fishing Cactus
Video game

View a still from the game

‘Once upon a time’, the tale begins, before the cursor backtracks to try a less clichéd opening. ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst’ – no, that would never work. Third time lucky: ‘There was a girl / And she rode on the back of a great fox.’ Child and vulpine friend wander, an origami world unfolding before them. As they patter along paper paths, a story evolves, words parallel to the edges of the trail. Perhaps the girl is leading the way; perhaps the way leads her. Trees pop up, rabbits hop by, and obstacles block the route. With no weapons to hand we must rely on our own digits, writing out spells and typing to cast.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Continuum: You can listen to the composition here.

The Roots of the Moment: You can listen to an excerpt here. Tom Service has written an introduction to Pauline Oliveros for The Guardian. Tracey McMullen has written an academic article on Oliveros and improvisation, which can be read here.

Epistory: You can watch the official release trailer here, see a playthrough of the game (by Polygon's Justin McElroy & Simone de Rochefort) here, and read Caty McCarthy's post on curing writer's block for Kill Screen.

Today's connection

The accordion and harpsichord are keyboard instruments. Epistory is a typing game that requires a computer keyboard.

Question of the day

Which keyboard-related artworks would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Synth Britannia, directed by Ben Whalley. A great BBC documentary about the DIY synth scene that exploded in the late seventies, due to synthesisers becoming cheaper and widely available to your average band. (→)

– Black Marble, electronic musician (via The Brief →)

Litanies, a composition for organ by Jehan Alain. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)

Also on Silent Frame