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Tremble Not, and get a loadbang Out of This!

Quiver loadbang New Focus Recordings 332 Total Time: 64;24 Recording: ****/**** Performance: ****/****

Founded in 2008, the contemporary music ensemble loadbang is a mixed group that features new music for trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice. The unique combination has led to some 400 new works created for the ensemble by its own members, new composers, and more established familiar names. Roughly half the works on this fourth release on New Focus is music by members of the group.

A rather somber work with slight jazz overtones gets things off in Quinn Mason’s Aging. This is a bit more restrained in its experimentation. But, Heather Stebbins’ Quiver, moves us firmly into the exploration of extended techniques and sounds. One interesting concept here is the way specific sounds are mimicked, or transferred across the different voices. An effect in one tends to kick off a response in another that is an extension of, or imitation of, what has gone before. It is a rather stark and intense work. These sonic experiments are a hallmark of the group’s style and this is furthered in the brief Disquiet by Caros Cordeiro which has interesting blended sonorities and quickly-morphing sections.

ZongYun We’s Flower brings us back to some tonal suggestions a bit with these unusual sounds eventually floating upwards in a rather atmospheric work. In the two works by Jeffrey Gavett (Proverbial and quis det ut), we are sent into a far denser and complex sound world of textures that take inspiration from a William Blake poem and a Flemish Renaissance motet, respectively. Andy Kozar’s To Keep My Loneliness Warm is inspired by short stories of Lydia Davis and here we are moved to consider vocal techniques that are laid against the instrumental ones in challenging complex sounds. The album concludes with Irrational by Chaya Czernowin. Intervalic relationships are used as a unifying device here moving from a unison opening into expanded intervals. Unusual sounds and techniques are also drawn from the instruments as well and there are some interesting applications of throat singing and multiphonic playing.

Of course, such experimental works are not going to be for the casual listener. These are avantgarde works on the periphery of concert music that challenge listeners to rethink sound and structure. The pieces are highly complex and equally dramatic. It would seem that sometimes the latter comes across better in spatial staging. That can be hinted at to some extent. For those who are adventurous, loadbang’s release will be an intriguing opportunity to experience the great variety at the disposal of experimental composers.

The album is set to release the end of August.


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