AMN Reviews: David Bowlin – Bird as Prophet [New Focus Recordings FCR237]

The violin virtuoso has been an important figure in Western art music for centuries. Over these centuries the nature of virtuosity has evolved, along with the techniques needed to achieve it. What a 21st century violin virtuoso sounds like is on display on David Bowlin’s Bird as Prophet.

Bowlin, Director of String Studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, is an adept interpreter of new music and a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, one of the most esteemed new music groups in the world. The works on Bird as Prophet bring out both his versatility and lyricism in equal measure.

Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronism (1988) for violin and tape uses discreet electronic sounds to supplement a central focus on the violin. While the latter is indeed synched with the tape it could stand on its own as an example of late Modernist virtuosity: a technical challenge played out in a slightly fragmented arc of double stops, rapid runs into the extreme upper register, and mood-changing, introspective interludes.

Under a Tree, an Udātta (2016) by Du Yun, like Bowlin a founder of ICE, is another piece for fixed media and violin. Under a Tree is anchored on a recording of Vedic chanting, which sets up an insistently rhythmic drone for the violin to play over. Bowlin’s line, which has some of the looseness of an improvisation, is an eclectic mélange of raga-like microtonal swoops, percussive strikes and long-held, widely-vibratoed tones. What the piece seems to say in part is that contemporary virtuosity isn’t solely a matter of technical mastery, but of being conversant with multiple musical traditions as well.

Bleu (2011), a composition for solo violin, is a mature work written by the late George Walker for his violinist son Gregory when the composer was nearly 90. It’s a beautiful, expressive piece that combines a warm romanticism with chromatic, Modernist lines; Bowlin plays it with great depth of feeling, as he does Martin Bresnick’s Bird as Prophet (1999), a piece for violin and piano (Tony Cho).

Bowlin has previously interpreted the music of Alexandra Karasyoanova-Hermentin, a Moscow-born composer/pianist of Russo-Bulgarian background currently living in Austria; he premiered her violin concerto Mahagoni, which she had written for him, in 2007. Here she contributes two pieces for small chamber ensembles. Kastena (2003) for violin and cello, the latter played by ICE’s Katinka Kleijn, is a tension-filled work that floats an energetic violin part over a cello performance that alternates between drones and abrupt, percussive interventions. Mari Mamo (2009), a trio work for violin, flute (Conor Nelson) and percussion (Ayano Kataoka), constructs melodies out of discontinuous tone colors and plays fruitfully on the contrast between staccato flute and tuned percussion on the one side, and long, floating violin tones on the other.

http://www.newfocusrecordings.com/catalogue/david-bowlin-bird-as-prophet/

Daniel Barbiero

Avant Scena Reviews

Source: Avant Scena.

Kris Davis – “Diatom Ribbons” (Pyroclastic Records, 2019)

Prune Bécheau – “Sonate” (NUNC, 2019)

Points (Marcelo dos Reis, Valentin Ceccaldi, Marco Franco and Luís Vicente) – “Points” (Multikulti Project, 2019)

Threnody – “A Paradigm of Suspicion” (Trost Records, 2019)

Raphael Malfliet Large Ensemble – “LE10 18​-​05” (Ruweh Records, 2019)

Dunmall/Swell/Owston/Sanders ‎– “So Perhaps” (FMR, 2019)

Harris Eisenstadt “CANADA DAY QUARTET LIVE” (Clean Feed, 2019)

Vital Weekly Reviews 1202

Source: Vital Weekly.

TRIGGER & JEROME NOETINGER – CAMERA OBSCURA (CD by Bocian Records) *
SKY BURIAL – THE FORCING SEASON: FURTHER ACTS OF SEVERANCE (CD by Opa Loka Records) *
ORCHESTRA ENTROPY – RITUALS (CD by Discus Music) *
COREY MWAMBA – NTH (CD by Discus Music) *
THE BIG YES – KALMAR (CD by Nakama Records) *
KJETIL MULELID TRIO – WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS HOME (CD by Rune Grammofon) *
SKARBO SKULEKORPS – SKARBO SKULEKORPS (CD by Hubro Music) *
BENOIT CANCOIN & BIRGIT ULHER – ELECTRIC GREEN (CD by Edition Blumlein) *
CRISTIAN ALVEAR & KLAUS FILIP – 6 CHORDS (CD by Ftarri) *
FTARRI 7TH ANNIVERSARY (4CD by Ftarri)
CRISTIAN ALVEAR 7 TIM OLIVE – TELQUAN (CD by 845 Audio) *
ELIZABETH MILLER & TIM OLIVE & CRAIG PEDERSEN – CHARM POINT (CD by 845 Audio) *
SOUND OF THE MOUNTAIN WITH TETUZI AKIYAMA & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA – AMPLIFIED CLARINET AND TRUMPET, GUITARS, NIMB (CD by Mystery & Wonder) *
MONO-POLY – TESTLAB (LP by Blowpipe) *
PERFECT VACUUM – I MUST NOT THINK BLEAK THOUGHTS (LP by Blowpipe) *
DENEUVE – PUSH PUSH ROCK & ROLL (12″ by Blowpipe) *
D.C.P. – D.C.P. PIGEON (10″ lathe cut by Paco et Gigi Records)
HAQ – EVAPORATOR (CDR by Bearsuit Records) *
IAN STENHOUSE/POOL PERVERT – ABOMINABLE INVESTIGATIONS (split cassette by Non-Interrupt)
WIL BOLTON – KOCHI (cassette by Audiobulb) *
IVY NOSTRUM – SELF OWN (cassette by Invisible City Records) *
MUSTER – TO FIND A CITY TO LIVE IN (cassette by Invisible City Records) *
SHIT CREEK & TREMELO GHOSTS – SHRDLU’S ADVENTURES IN BLOCKWORLD (cassette by Invisible City Records) *
ROVAR17 VS XPLDNGLKE – MIRACLES OF ORBANISTAN (cassette by Unsigned Label)
ABATTOIR & SATORI – MEGALOSCHEMOS LIVE (cassette by Unsigned Label)
CO-HABITANT (cassette by Chained Library)
[..(]. (cassette by Chained Library)
K2 / IKIRE – BIG CHANCE FOR FAILURE (cassette by Trapdoor Tapes)

Eilean Records’ Magical Ambient Map

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Eilean Records knew how it was going to fold even before it had its first release. Unlike many label owners, Mathias Van Eecloo approached his imprint with a conscientious finality, setting the endpoint at 100 catalog entries, each of which would be dedicated to electronic, ambient, and electroacoustic music. But Van Eecloo is nothing if not hyper-aware of imprint personality; see IIKKI, his meticulously curated label that pairs a disc (vinyl or CD) with a fine art book. With Eilean, though there is an inevitable expiration date, the label’s identity goes much deeper than numbers on a spine.

Magma Interviewed By Musicians

Source: The Quietus.

Ahead of their appearance at Tusk Festival we canvassed members of Voivod, Hawkwind, Gong, The Utopia Strong, SunnO))), 808 State and more to see what they would ask Magma if they had the chance… And here are the results.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of French exploratory rock band Magma. While they haven’t been operational for the full half century (they were on hiatus between 1984 and 1996), it feels like their significance and popularity has regrown outside of their native France, since reforming, especially during the last decade. A ten year period of revitalisation which was arguably inaugurated in the UK by an absolutely blazing show at the Barbican, a decade ago today.

The faithful have always known how good they are, which is not to say that they’ve always been universally loved. I don’t think it is controversial to suggest that their style of radical mercurial progressive fusion won them more detractors than fans internationally. (Occasionally the sign of a good band, I’d say.) Their sound is impossible to describe succinctly but if you’re thinking of them in terms of boiler plate prog or fusion you’ve already steered off course.

Dal Niente in Chicago Presents Kyle Flens, Percussion 

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

Dal Niente Presents: Kyle Flens, Percussion
Friday, October 11, 2019
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Elastic Arts

Kyle Flens plays works for percussion by some of his favorite Chicago collaborators in this concert of solos and duos, in which the instruments onstage come alive in different ways: Igor Santos’ Anima literally anthropomorphizes the harp and percussion, while Luis Fernando Amaya’s Bestiario: Tres evokes the body of an unknown “beast”; Michael Gordon’s “XY” is an epic of ever spiraling polyrhythms inspired by the double helix of DNA, while Jonathan Hannau highlights the drum set’s possibilities as a solo instrument, and Darcy Copeland’s the tiger bares its teeth explores themes of vulnerability and connection through shifting relationships between instruments. Fellow Dal Niente members Ben Melsky, Jesse Langen, and Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh guest star.

Program
Igor Santos – Anima* for percussion and harp (2019)
Luis Fernando Amaya – Bestiario: Tres for percussion and guitar (2019)
Michael Gordon – XY for solo percussion (1997)
Darcy Copeland – the tiger bares its teeth for percussion and clarinet (2019)
Jonathan Hannau – Six Moments in a Room for solo drum set (2016/2019)**
*denotes World Premiere
** bring your own cassette tape to the concert to be used in Jonathan Hannau’s piece!