& Tristan Perich
The English organist and pianist James McVinnie has cut a dazzling bolt across classical and electronic music over the last two decades, zigzagging between records for Bedroom Community and Warp and collaborations with Nico Muhly and Squarepusher. He meets his rare like in the composer Tristan Perich, who makes spartan 1-bit electronics dance and shimmer like the brightest sides of Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
As a young virtuoso, McVinnie was an organist at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and other sacred sites of music, where he mastered Renaissance and Baroque repertory by the likes of Handel, Gregorio Allegri, and John Taverner. Later, he became fertilely associated with the neoromantic minimalism of Muhly, who wrote McVinnie’s 2013 Bedroom Community debut, Cycles, and Glass, whose Orange Mountain Music label released The Grid, McVinnie’s survey of the master’s music.
Perich’s electronic philosophy, which involves playing only one bit of musical data at a time, has produced wonders such as the first album ever released on a microchip and a series of increasingly ambitious compositions that pit his scintillating 1-bit ribbons against tuned triangles, harpsichords, and even greater orchestration. “I build my own circuits to make the connection between code and sound as direct as possible,” Perich told the blog Second Inversion; the direct current between he and McVinnie, for whom he has written an hour-long piece for organ and electronics, holds electrifying promise.