Flickers of Mime / Death of Memes

Flickers of Mime / Death of Memes

Floating at the edge of the known galaxies
Alexander Berne
Alexander Berne
The Abandoned Orchestra
Catalog Number: 
new music
Meditative (neo New Age)

Bradenton, FL

Release Date: 
Oct 25, 2011
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
Berne: Flickers of Mime - Death of MemesiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Flicker I08:19$0.99
2.Flicker II03:52$0.99
3.Flicker III04:53$0.99
4.Flicker IV05:10$0.99
5.Flicker V04:03$0.99
6.Flicker VI04:53$0.99
7.Flicker VII04:52$0.99
8.Flicker VIII04:50$0.99
9.Flicker IX03:53$0.99
10.Flicker X04:19$0.99
11.Flicker XI04:26$0.99
12.Death of Memes: Meme I05:07$0.99
13.Death of Memes: Meme II06:16$0.99
14.Death of Memes: Meme III06:41$0.99
15.Death of Memes: Meme IV06:53$0.99
16.Death of Memes: Meme V05:23$0.99
17.Death of Memes: Meme VI04:20$0.99
18.Death of Memes: Meme VII08:01$0.99
19.Death of Memes: Meme VIII05:40$0.99
20.Death of Memes: Meme IX04:51$0.99
One Sheet: 

“It’s half past midnight in the basement of a hospital. I’m alone in the intensive care unit with someone who appears to be near death. It doesn’t take long before I start to hear music. A machine, maybe a generator, heaves a long, low sigh that slowly rises from silence and retreats into silence, like a tympani roll, over and over. A chime from another machine, a monitor of some kind, pops out a counterpoint: two beeps, short pause, two beeps, long pause, two beeps, short pause, two beeps, again and again, gentle and high, like a thrush. Except for the muffled steps of an orderly or nurse, banging from a hallway closer to the living world, there is no other sound …” Music critic Larry Cosentino’s liner notes for Alexander Berne’s latest innova release, Flickers of Mime/Death of Memes, are evocative because that’s the only good way to talk about what Berne has here achieved. The double album set, which comes in a lovingly handmade, hardbound, autographed, limited edition, finds him stretching the palette of his Abandoned Orchestra further even than he did on 2010’s Composed and Performed by Alexander Berne. There is still his well-established virtuosity as a wind player on both the saxophone and the saduk (his own creation, a combination of a flute and a reed instrument), but there are also new and exotic treatments of traditional instruments like piano, guitars, and violin. He continues his experiments in crafting his own instruments and also brings in found sounds. In the words of music quarterly Signal to Noise, “If they’re still making ‘east meets west’ CDs 500 years from now, these are the sounds they will probably emit.” Speaking about Flickers of Mime/Death of Memes, Berne says “The two sets have a cyclical dramatic element I call, ‘an unwritten show of the mind.’ Sound energy, synaesthetically manifesting as wordless internal imagery. Flickers of Mime traces the ascending arc of the cycle. I see a mime, a powerful conjuror, in a small house. People are gathered around him at night and he uses his hands and a flame to create unusual shadows. These images have the power to evoke hidden memories of a flourishing ancient culture. The second disc, Death of Memes, follows this arc downward. The visitations on this society are of a different character now. We intuit that a vast city is nearing the end of its run. We feel a destructive principle at work, making way for something else.” Berne’s thoughtful work on his previous release has already landed him on Textura’s top albums of 2010 at number five, explaining that “The intricately woven lamentations on Alexander Berne’s ambitious three-disc opus (produced entirely free of synthesizers and samples) reveal him to be that rare artist who can integrate lyricism, spirituality, and prodigious technical command into a single package, and the collection constitutes a miraculous sound-world that’s too seldom encountered.” Again, though, Cosentino’s description is more poetic: “After a couple of hours in ICU, my plastic chair seems to float at the edge of the galaxy — backstage, behind the red doors, the staff-only area where only Stephen Hawkings can go, where old stars die and new ones are born. The isolation is so profound it starts to feel like communion. Alexander Berne’s music takes me to the deep mystery of that night, the fluorescent lights, the glass and tile, the wires and tubes, the sleeping face on the pillow. He deals in primal tones from the bowels of buried machinery, rolling on slow gears of counterpoint, although in his case the machinery is organic.”


"What do you get when you combine Kubrick moods, outer space, Middle Eastern vibes, clouds of metal timbre, and a lot of talent in mixing those ingredients? How about combining the primeval, the creepily serene, and the sense of slow motion? Now, coalesce both of those, and you’ll get an illustration of the arc of human nature woven into … Alexander Berne’s new album Flickers of Mime/Death of Memes … Berne has constructed a body of work that works together in ways not only aurally, but conceptually. It offers a new way of looking at the arch of humanity; the arch that we ourselves, as humans, might never understand." [FULL ARTICLE]
—Elena Saavedra Buckley

"All of the sounds and the progression of these works together makes for very immersive, submerged, almost meditative sounds that some listeners would find a close relative to the music of Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and even Steve Roach … Berne constructs his music--amazingly--from all acoustic sources, processed electronically. Ultimately, this is music that conjure[s] up imagery--primitive, celestial, dreamlike, abstract." [FULL ARTICLE]
—Daniel Coombs

"[E]xtraordinarily sophisticated in its use of transformed sounds--not through electronic filtering but through careful layering and mixing over time. It's a sound-color tour de force, at once mystic and concrete, an orchestra of odd provenance creating otherworldly sounds." [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards 

"Flickers of Mime ... toys with listener expectation as turns in the narrative emerge and collapse within seconds. It meddles with recollection as new textures fade into nothing quickly enough to feel as though they might just be figments of the imagination; momentary lapses in common sense that sneak false memories into listener retrospect: drumbeats that squelch into life then fade instantly, or clarinet sirens that whirr faintly round the edges and evaporate." [FULL ARTICLE]
Jack Chuter 

"A circus drum-roll and crash of cymbals heralds surreal but subsumed theatrical drama, opening out into a cavernous space inhabited by massed and muffled church bells, the mysterious tinkling of a quasi-piano, elongated and moody organ tones, an elegiac melodic phrase from a saxophone ... Nothing here is quite what it seems, and the imagination is set on fire. Too dark and uncomfortable to be categorised in the ‘ambient’ section of your local CD emporium, this is the good stuff, and I support it wholeheartedly. Alexander Berne’s self-made and superbly produced soundtracks go against the grain of instant gratification, and take you to the kinds of places you would normally only expect to find from the intensity of a powerful novel." [FULL ARTICLE]
Dominy Clements 

"It’s like flying at low altitude at very low speed on an overcast day as dusk approaches. Shifting banks of sound come at you slowly, in waves: low drones, white noise, washes with endlessly changing, minute shifts in timbre or pitch, and tantalizing snatches of melody." [FULL ARTICLE]