Dion Workman - Ching


Dion Workman

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Dion Workman - Ching

Dion Workman (of sigma editions) produces a confounding piece—terrifyingly intrusive yet completely subtle, deep with texture and layer although monochromatic in character. Ching is a complex work of grey shadows and glaring light, an exemplar of aggressive digital minimalism. Its harsh textures coexist with the open-ended pulsation of extended tones and overtones, playing with the listener's tolerance. What sets Ching apart from simple noise is Workman's attention to minute detail, as well as the piece's mesmerizing structure. This short (20 minutes 37 seconds) and exhilarating work builds with calculated motion, suddenly bursting into silence, only to reconfigure itself, similar but different, in a quiet dance of amassing sonic shards.

Ching was awarded the Max Brand Prize on April 26, 2003 by the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City.


"Ching hums in a relentless sharp-edged and claustrophobic interior, shunning the usual attention-grabbing tactics of extreme volume or bustling texture in favor of a smothering accretion of silvery prickles and distended sub-bass tremors. Workman's fixation on frequency extremes allows him to operate at the seductively low regions of the dynamic spectrum that beckon listeners ever closer to the speakers before he stuffs atomized gravel down their ear canals."

- Joe Panzner, Grooves 012

"Dion Workman's piece Ching revolves around the question of the created acoustic original and the related implications. The piece starts the construction of its harsh sound world that skirts the borders of the audible and reproducible frequency spectrum with a single, one-second long sample, taken from the piece Zu rück ú bleiben bitte by Ching-Chiang Liu (Taiwan)... The process that Dion Workman is alluding to—with deference to Steve Reich's statement that sampling makes 'electronic music the new folk music'—is that of transmission, of appropriation through imitation. It is a constitutive element in the traditions of folk music that have all but died out in Western cultures and also in music education."

- Austrian Cultural Forum

"...provocative, a disavowal of warmth; an embrace of the hard edges of digital sound composition."

- Jon Dale, Signal To Noise

"'Ching' feels like the poetics of pressure, an analysis of barometric force, where movement is the slow loss of pressure and buildup of climatic instability, which suddenly rights itself, whereupon the crickets come out to sing. Which is a cheap metaphor for a staggeringly inventive piece of music."

- Nirav Soni, The Squid's Ear

"The work refuses to entertain and so seems cerebral, which means its powerful physical impact catches you by surprise."


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  1. Dion Workman - Ching

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