AMN Reviews: Brendon Randall-Myers & Dither – Dynamics of Vanishing Bodies [New Focus Recordings fcr264]

Dynamics of Vanishing Bodies, Brendon Randall-Myers’ five-movement, album-length work for four electric guitars, sounds something like a scaled-down variation on some of Glenn Branca’s long-form symphonies for massed guitar orchestra. That shouldn’t be entirely surprising, given that Randall-Myers, himself a guitarist as well as a composer, participated in the Glenn Branca Ensemble and conducted it after Branca’s death. Randall-Myers’ background in punk and metal is also evident, particularly in the work’s distorted timbres and dissonances. Randall-Myers builds much of the collective sound as an accumulation of interlocking, short motifs and/or rhythms; rather than going for an effect of sheer sonic mass, he leaves open spaces over which the ringing ends of these brief riffs can hang. The guitars, played here by the Dither quartet of Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, James Moore and Gyan Riley, put out a shimmeringly rich, reverb-drenched sound augmented by sustaining pedals and loops.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews: Ian Vine – forty objects/forty-five objects (2015; Bandcamp)

a0872596484_10These two long compositions for electric guitar orchestra by UK composer/guitarist Ian Vine show how mass can be generated from multiplicity. Each work is composed of a given number of separate parts or objects, each of which is made up of a set of notes and is assigned to one guitar (all of which were played by the composer for this recording). Both tracks feature elongated, discordant sonorities that threaten not to resolve, with the second being the darker of the two. The overall profile is dense and drone-like, but even within this density individual parts make themselves heard as if moving between foreground and background as harmonic patterns emerge and disappear, floating in and out of the frame. The length of the pieces facilitates the kind of absorbed listening this kind of music benefits from: After a while the nuanced shifts of harmony and timbre take on an almost dramatic cast.