Sunday, December 12, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Three Shamans

Terry Riley: Atlantis Nath. 2002. Sri Moonshine: SMM 001.

Terry Riley: voice, synthesizers, piano
Luc Martinez: recording, sound design
Frederic Lepee: acoustic fretless guitar
John Deaderick: spoken text
Thee Nice Opera String Quartet (individuals uncredited)

Atlantis Nath is the first disc ever featured in the HurdAudio Rotation. Each return to this disc affirms a full orbit through a rotation, marking both a conclusion and a new beginning. A suitable position for an artist willing to tread into spiritual waters with the fearless verve of a California hippie. Atlantis Nath in particular encapsulates the full breadth of Terry Riley's composing and recording career. It touches upon so many of his scattered stylistic signatures as it turns from maddening to profound within a short span of time. The MIDI realizations of "Derveshum Carnivalis" or "Even Your Beloved Wife" fall into the maddening side while his piano solo "Ascencion" provides a wealth of substance. Through all of it the uncanny instinct for arrangement and a willingness to spin fantastic yarns through sound is clearly evident. Making this experience a staple and a go-to disc in my collection.

Myra Melford's Be Bread: The Whole Tree Gone. 2009. Firehouse 12: FH12-04-01-012.

Myra Melford: piano
Cuong Vu: trumpet
Ben Goldberg: clarinet, contra-alto clarinet
Brandon Ross: guitar, soprano guitar
Stomu Takeishi: acoustic bass guitar
Matt Wilson: drums

The music on The Whole Tree Gone was realized with financial support from Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation Program. And it sits in that delicious territory between chamber music and improvised music. Delicately balanced between the excesses of each. The elements of composition and improvisation fused together so neatly that it's unclear where one begins and the other ends. Much of this is because these players are such talented improvisers in their own right as well. Myra Melford leaves plenty of space for the personalities in this ensemble to work within these surprisingly refined structures. Some, like this sextet version of "Night" and "A Generation Comes and Another Goes," strike these ears as familiar works from the Melford oeuvre that have been reworked for this ensemble. While the newer pieces here offer up the same level of rehearsed familiarity that showcase Melford's impressive talent for composition, arranging and improvising.

Pauline Oliveros: The Roots Of The Moment. 2006. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 591.

Pauline Oliveros: accordion (in just intonation)
Electronic environment created by David Ward

A combination of sympathetic resonance and the harmonic just intonation that Pauline Oliveros gravitates toward as part of her lifelong commitment to deep listening. Depth is a significant element of this texture. Of accordion that washes over and submerges the ear with its breath and drone. Improvisation that expands to fill out the hour with an exploration of natural phenomenon. The invitation to travel these harmonic contours is like an early evening walk through the woods. A journey into an expansive wilderness filled with promise that remains lightly tread upon.

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