AMN Reviews: Brice Catherin – Early Works [pyr133]

1coul-1024x1024This collection of work by composer/cellist Brice Catherin features five pieces composed during the period 2002-2005, when Catherin was a student in Geneva, Switzerland. With the exception of one work for bassoon and orchestra, the pieces are scored for soloists or small ensembles.

In a nice bit of symmetry, the release opens and closes with works for percussion, 2003’s Pérégrémotions I for three percussionists (Alexandra Bellon, Claire Defet and Guy-Loup Boisneau) and 2005’s Pérégrémotions II for solo percussionist (Boisneau), both of which were recorded live in 2011 in Geneva. The two works have in common the integration of voice with the instruments, which in the later work becomes a decidedly comic device; the performance is occasionally punctuated by the laughter of children in the audience. Pérégrémotions I is notable for its use of hocketing and of otherwise passing fragmented rhythmic phrases around among the three players.

Erster Verlust (2002), a three-part work for virtuoso solo baritone saxophone, energetically performed by Vincent Daoud, weaves a mixed tissue of timbral effects liberally drawing on the use of the instrument’s extreme upper register, overblowing, multiphonics, voiced notes and trilling glissandi. Träumerei (2002), another tripartite work, this time for voice, cello, saxophones and percussion, is structured as a set of events integrating extreme vocalizing—growls, cries, shouts, (intentional?) coughs—into more or less separate episodes for the instrumental ensemble. The five-movement Symphonie Consternante (2005), like Erster Verlust recorded live at the Eglise Saint-Francois in Lausanne in May 2010, is scored for bassoon and a small orchestra of paired winds, trumpet, tuba, four double basses and percussion. The performance is notable for the effective timbral contrasts between the low strings and flutes, and for the textural variety provided by solo passages balanced with ensemble work.

AMN Reviews: Steve Roden / Stephen Vitiello – The Spaces Contained In Each (2014; Room40)

EDRM415Among other things, Steve Roden is a sound artist who works in film and sound installations. Roden is known for the “lowercase style” of music, which amplifies usually unheard sounds into larger soundscapes. Stephen Vitiello also works in film and installations, and creates soundscapes from incidental environmental noises as well. Based on these descriptions, one probably has an idea of how The Spaces Contained in Each sounds.

In this single 49-minute track, Roden and Vitello combine seamlessly to set out shimmering, scratchy background drones, on top of which lie their incidental sound effects and creations. Bells, popping noises, and gentle, post-industrial clangs combine with other foreground tones.  All of this in blended to such a point that there is nothing jarring nor shrill. The Spaces Contained in Each is music that can be listened to over and over, with new textures and characteristics emerging each time.

Quite a bit of this type of experimental music comes across our desks, most of it at least modestly interesting. But Roden and Vitiello have taken it up a few notches on this subtle, complex release.

Fast Forward and Brown, Gratowsky, Winant at Interpretations

From New York’s Interpretations:

Thursday December 11, 2014
8PM at Roulette, in Downtown Brooklyn
509 Atlantic Ave (corner of Atlantic and 3rd Ave)

Interpretations continues its 26th season with an evening of music that explores the frontiers between composition and improvisation.

Composer Fast Forward will premieres his newest work “TEN”, for 10 players. Following his passion for making serious music with everyday objects, Fast Forward has chosen ten of New York’s most adventurous downtown musicians to perform his composition. Ten separate pieces are woven into one complete work. 10 players play 10 pieces for 10 instruments. Performing the work will be Gelsey Bell, Tom Chiu, Chris Cochrane, Michael Evans, David Freeman, Grady Gerbracht, Gisburg, Eric Farber, Dave Ruder & Aliza Simons. Composing non-traditional ensemble works in New York and around the world for more than 30 years, Fast Forward continuous to demonstrate that exciting music can be made with almost any object.

The international trio of Chris Brown (piano & electronics), Frank Gratowsky (winds), and William Winant (percussion) specializes in improvisations that seamlessly meld avant-garde classical, jazz and electronic influences. Extended techniques and interactive electronic signal processing create an original sound-world that transcends its instrumental sources through hybrid timbral and temporal transformations. The distinctive sound of west coast native William Winant’s bass marimba and unusual gongs is a regular feature on the Interpretations series, and this time he brings with him fellow Bay Area resident Chris Brown, who contributes not only his impressive piano improvisations, but his extensive live electronic processing. German saxophonist Frank Gratowsky brings his alto saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet to the mix, contributing a distinctively European tone to this unusual trio.

Fast Forward is a New York –based English composer and performer who makes music with almost anything. He is probably best known for his in depth musical explorations of the Trinidadian steel pan and his music-theatre works for diverse instrumentation.

Chris Brown, composer, pianist, and electronic musician, creates music for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, for computer networks, and for improvising ensembles. Collaboration and improvisation are consistent themes in his work, as well as the invention and performance of new electronic instruments.

Frank Gratkowski is a saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer living in Germany. Since 1992 he has been working in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe. The duo is often extended through the participation of different additional musicians, such as drummer Paul Lovens and bassist John Lindberg.

William Winant has performed with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Terry Riley, Cecil Taylor, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Dresser, and many others. His own groups include ROOM (with Chris Brown and Larry Ochs), CHALLENGE (with Anthony Braxton and David Rosenboom), WAKE (with Frank Gratkowski and Chris Brown), and the WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION GROUP.