Fantastic work from this groundbreaking ensemble – one who've brought ideas of larger composition to a much more grass-roots space with material like this! "Doublespeak" is a beautiful piece by Nico Muhly of the group – this blend of minimal piano and violin with more freewheeling woodwinds – building, soaring, and cascading in a flurry of colors that are breathtaking. The group then take on "Two Pages" by Philip Glass – echoing the first performance, but with more minimalist restrictions. The sound then completely shifts on the set of short, beautiful "Murder Ballades" penned by Bryce Dresser – each of them a short portrait in music – and the larger work is bracketed by two shorter pieces by Son Lux, "This Is My Line" and "To Love". LP, Vinyl record album
A tremendous reading of the music of Steve Reich – served up in a set of minimalist compositions with a very percussive vibe – and a record of quality that may well match Reich's classic recordings of Drumming or Six Marimbas! Chicago's Third Coast Percussion Ensemble are tremendous here – taking on Reich's music, which can be surprisingly difficult, despite the repetition of notes – and finding ways to unlock all those kind of special, secret sounds that Steve envisioned when his music was in the hands of the right players. The set begins with a stunning "Mallet Quartet", which has sublime sounds in marimbas and vibes – and the marimbas return on "Nagoya Marimbas", a duet recording with amazing flows between the two instruments. "Music For Pieces Of Wood" is maybe the most difficult here – and the most captivating – as the different timings of the wood blocks being struck creates music that's both hypnotic and organic. The set also includes a long four-part reading of "Sextet" – with two added pianos to the mostly percussion lineup. CD
Eighth Blackbird —
Hand Eye ... CD Cedille, 2016. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
Stunning work from Eighth Blackbird – easily one of the most important groups on the Chicago scene in recent years – and instrumental in bringing modern music out of the ivory tower, and back into a much more vibrant public presence! These guys are forging a legacy that rivals that of some of the early ensembles of Philip Glass or Steve Reich, or of Kronos Quartet in the 80s – and their lineup is very inventive – flutes, clarinets, violin, cello, piano, and percussion – used in ways that are tremendously varied, and with a power that moves far beyond some of the more obtuse modes of other modern groups. Eighth Blackbird never seem to forget a sense of melody, even when very experimental – and this album rings out with wonderful flourishes of light and tone, in ways that we haven't heard from a set of contemporary compositions in many years. The album features reworkings of pieces from the Maxine & Stuart Frankel Foundation – re-imagined by composers Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, Robert Honstein, Christopher Cerrone, Ted Herne, and Jacob Cooper – all with an ear towards the group's unique musical powers. CD