Babel is a large-scale musical structure celebrating the multiplicity of musical language and evolving technologies as the 20th century came to a close.
Originally released as a 5-CD set in 1999, the first 3 CDs contain 'rooms' within an imaginary skyscraper tower city. This aural building being the embodiment of a modern-day Tower Of Babel; and the other 2 CDs contain KBBL - the Tower's fictitious radio station.
In the virtual architecture on this album, where each track corresponds to a room in the tower, the first track Pagoda Charm is set in an imaginary concert-hall. In it are solos by an electric guitarist and saxophonist, both of whom can be heard elsewhere rehearsing these solos (in Mr. Brady's Room [BABEL - Chambers And Spirit Levels] and The Dressing Room [BABEL - Delusional Architecture] resp).
Later in Pagoda Charm, a gradual acoustic shift in perspective happens, when we seem to leave the concert-hall (at around 8'00). Moments from other pieces begin to be introduced as a disembodied voice is heard saying 'enter your memory number'. All this gives the impression of a choice of places to visit being offered as we flip through a maze of different sound worlds.
At 9'58 it is possible to hear the already-existing Mansard (an attic room with a sloped roof - a childhood memory room) underneath all the layers before it makes its unmasked appearance a little over a minute later.
A clarinettist rehearses in Kalu Rehearsals, for what, we don't know, but we do hear the Cantilena music in the distance (they are both temple musics).
The Iron Language Alphabet is a sound alphabet containing tiny fragments of Babel within it (49 samples of music from KBBL spread over the white notes of a 7 octave midi keyboard). It opens with an heraldic trumpet solo followed by 'letters' of an alphabet being introduced one by one slowly, and then being sped up.
The solos in these recordings evolved in collaboration with the individual musicians and I am extremely grateful to Jo, Cindy, Tim, Lorraine, Rachel, Claire, Ger, Michael and Ian for their unique talents. See track info for more detail.
'Roger Doyle ought to be canonised. Those who have not heard his Babel collection have missed a whole lot in life. What drama! He puts a lot of other composers to shame. They should all bow down deeply for Roger Doyle. His music is warm, funny and richly elaborate'.
-Granslost Magazine, Sweden 1999.