Andrius Arutiunian’s debut album »Seven Common Ways of Disappearing« was first conceived as an installation for the Armenia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022. The Armenian-Lithuanian artist and composer uses hybrid forms of music, focusing on sonic vernaculars, hypnotic musical forms, and aural cosmologies. Arutiunian is known to work with installations, sound objects, and time-based collaborations with ensembles and performers. The piece on this record was written for two musicians, a retuned piano and analogue electronics, and it borrows an enneagram as its score—the world-ordering model introduced by the controversial Armenian-Greek mystic and composer G.I. Gurdjieff. The result is an album that is both aesthetically and spiritually intoxicating—music of the spheres, at once reminiscent of the masterpieces of minimal music and improvised, if not stochastic music.
G.I. Gurdjieff was one of the first thinkers and (quite possibly charlatans) to introduce a syncretic idea of Eastern philosophy into the West. His unique way of teaching was based on an esoteric blend of Middle Eastern, Buddhist, and Dervish philosophies, and oscillated between a genuine search for enlightenment and a complex form of trickery. Borrowing from Gurdjieff’s writing on the world ordering and musical tuning, Arutiunian used the enneagram to organise the musical and structural matter of the piece that was originally conceived as a live performance.
»Seven Common Ways of Disappearing« is written for a grand piano—the epitome of Western composition and musical production—and follows a simple set of rules: the two musicians have to navigate the topography of the score, rendering the piece in a different configuration each time. In a sense, this gripping recording is thus only one of the potentially infinite versions of how it could be played, but also seems to take on different shapes and forms with each new listen. It documents a truly mystical composition that follows its own logic.