Exposé Online banner

The Duringer Expeditions — Volume One
(Heavenbound Systems, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

Volume One Cover art

Every now and then something comes along that's so unusual or revolutionary that one has to stand up and take note. What's revolutionary about this album is not so much the music, but how the music was made. Jacob Duringer is a composer, musician, and electronics engineer turned inventor, who – frustrated with the limitations of the standard keyboard – began (around 1978) to develop the "Monolith," short for Monolithic Two-dimensional Keyboard. The Monolith uses the same black/white key configuration (whole tones and semi-tones of the standard chromatic scale) as a conventional keyboard, but the keys are arranged in fifteen horizontal rows, each row playing a different synthesizer or MIDI channel. The keys themselves were shortened to fingertip size, a little over one inch long, thereby allowing all fifteen rows to occupy a smaller space. In turn, this allows the performer to play many parts of a multi-timbral composition in a live setting more efficiently without using stacks of separate keyboards, and that is precisely what Duringer has done here. The disc doubly serves as a showcase for his compositions as well as a demonstration disc for the capabilities of the Monolith. The music on the disc is very symphonic in nature, offering a good workout for the instrument's capabilities, which according to the booklet was all performed live. Duringer is joined by a drummer and guitarist as required, although many of the passages are exclusively for keyboards. The album consists of two long suites, totaling just under an hour. Because of the heavy symphonic keyboard driven nature of the music, I am often reminded of The Enid, yet under the surface the music here is quite different. It's all digital MIDI-controlled synths, so have your ears ready, but it's still a very impressive effort, and one that I'm sure many would be interested in hearing.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Jacob Duringer

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Chöying Drolma & Steve Tibbetts - Chö – Fans of Steve Tibbetts, especially those who prefer the world-beat master shredder of Exploded View (1986) or The Fall of Us All (1993), might be a bit put off by this set, a collaboration with...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues