AMN Reviews: Daniel Levin – Inner Landscape

Daniel Levin: Inner Landscape (Clean Feed 224)

Inner Landscape is the first solo release from Daniel Levin, a cellist whose work forcefully inhabits the territory between jazz and avant garde art music. The six improvisations collected here, recorded over the course of two sessions in 2009, represent a comprehensive description of the sonic landscape of the contemporary cello.

The six landscapes encompass a broad range of techniques and genre-crossing sounds, creating a complex atmosphere of mixed moods. Landscape 1, for instance, features sound clusters of dissonant tones along with abrupt phrasing and simultaneously struck and plucked notes. The third landscape creates an unstable tension through the judicious use of tritones – this is a landscape viewed from a precarious standpoint. A different kind of tension builds in Landscape 4, with its brusque chords, strings struck with the wood of the bow, and rapid tremolo. Closing out the recording, Landscape 6 moves in and out of a kind of frantic falsetto voice as Levin swoops across the cello’s upper and lower registers.

Inner Landscape is a fine showcase for Levin’s technical and emotional versatility and an important document of adventurous solo string improvisation.

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