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by Seth Colter Walls

July 10, 2013

Hot Electro-Classical Beats & Tones

by Seth Colter Walls  |  July 10, 2013

It may come as a surprise to some, but some of the hottest, harshest beats in all of music circa 2013 are to be found in … contemporary classical music. Take a glitchy, 1-bit composition by Tristan Perich like "Certain Movement": it's avant-garde, post-minimalist classical music. But it also has, well, a certain movement to it. Anyone who loves Robert Hood or DJ Rashad should be able to get down to it.

Meantime, plenty of rising star composers are integrating electronic pulses and textures into their pieces for chamber ensembles. Check Daniel Wohl's techno-adjacent "Insext," or Anna Clyne's ambient "Paint Box" for evidence. Perich, too, writes pieces for acoustic musicians that also employ his electronics. (Mariel Roberts' performance of his "Formations" is the killer example, here.)

And some composer-performers do it all themselves: Witness the multi-tracked violin of Todd Reynolds on "Transamerica" and the doom-guitar-plus-synths wizardry of Mario Diaz de Leon (on "Oneirogin" and "Faithless").

In recent years, elite classical musicians have sought out collaborators from the electronic world -- as with Hilary Hahn's album Silfra, penned and played with the prepared-piano and electronics virtuoso Hauschka. And so by the time Jace Clayton -- better known as DJ/rupture -- takes on the task of reinterpreting minimalists like Julius Hemphill, we've got a full-blown trend on our hands. See the appended playlist for all these thrilling electro-classical pieces, plus many more.

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