Larry Kucharz:Metachoral Visions

Larry Kucharz:Metachoral Visions
(International Audiochrome - 1997)

Simple, unadorned beauty in the form of long tones harmonizing in a synthetic chorus... That's what you'll find in Metachoral Visions.

My ears have become so used to extensive processing, synthesized percussion, sound effects and other studio theatrics that the "simplicity" of these works is truly startling. Another highly unusual aspect of Kucharz's work is that the pieces are literally built from the same material; one sound type is used for all parts and ranges, (i.e. the deep bass "ahhhs" are the very same sound  as the higher "ahhhs", differing only in pitch) creating strangely homogenous music. Frankly though, he achieves amazing results while operating within this self-imposed constraint.

The opener, Liquescence gives an idea of things to come. Crisp, clear tones flow from Kucharz's equipment; lengthy notes operating on varying registers, slightly shifting. One can clearly hear the "choral" effect. Phrygia, running at over 13 minutes, could easily be soundtrack material with its thoughtful, melancholy nature.

All similarly sonorous, there's a not a lot of variation between the ten tracks; Ars Nova, though, uses some very pronounced left/right separation to interesting effect. The "sound" used in this cut features an extra bit of clattering texture which shows up in the different ranges, revealing them as the "clones" that they are.

Organa stands out by working with shorter musical bursts. Parts of this piece sound rather orchestral. Lydia returns to lengthy, flowing chords, again using the "ahhh" sound to create its rich, chorus-like texture.

Clivis, the shortest cut (2:43), closes the CD and seems to me to be the "warmest" work, somehow softer and more lush than its predecessors. At times, the CD's tracks do suffer from a bit of sterility, somehow clinical in their beauty.

While Larry Kucharz has been making his "computer music" for some years, (and in fact, the tracks on this disc span from 1987 to 1996) this project is part of an evolutionary process. Of his earlier International Audiochrome releases, Unit 23  featured tracks of repetitive staccato bursts of sound, which I found to be much too stark. Harmonic Luminosity  was a bridge, a step between that work and the flowing choral effects of Metachoral Visions. For more information, you can e-mail Larry Kucharz at

Your enjoyment of Metachoral Visions may very well hinge on your desire to be dazzled with studio effects wizardry. If you can appreciate your ambience very much straight-up and undiluted, you, too, might give Kucharz's work One Thumb Up.1 thumb up
This review posted November 16, 1997

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