Premiere: Tim Beattie – “Lumen Divisi”


 From familiarity and perseverance something new was born. That’s the process Tim Beattie went through for “Lumen Divisi.” It’s a song from his upcoming of spectra album, out on Epoch Tapes on Dec. 8. The label always seems to represent intriguingly beautiful works, and this song casts a spell with just classical guitar and very minimal electronics. Connory Ballantyne of Epoch Tapes described the process of creating “Lumen Divisi”:

 We tried a songwriting technique out on this piece that Will + I referred to as ‘generational writing’. Taking a short loop from a song we all felt strong influence from- in this case a piece by one of our favourite composers- and having Tim improvise to it. Then we discard the original piece, and he repeated the process but with the new melody. We had Tim repeat this 3 or 4 more times until we had a melody completely new + our own. It was an interesting experiment. The main melody you hear is freshly born, but deep down it’s sonic family line, there’s an influential ancestor.

The song has an urgency to it, vibrating with barely plucked strings before multiple lines of guitar overlap with each other in a series of staccato notes. The “dueling” guitars seem at once at odds and complementary. Eventually, the hum of electronics adds a new wrinkle to the proceedings for a thoroughly engrossing listen.

Beattie told us the song was inspired by minimalist composer Steve Reich and is a way of synthesizing nylon and steel-string guitars. As Beattie puts it:

The spectrum of colours and timbre of the instrument differs in character depending on whether it is strung with nylon or steel strings. In a world where both nylon and steel exist together, the many tones and shades create a sonic depth: shades, shadows, light divided.
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