6 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 7 - April 2004

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Blue Ocean Music of Jim

Blue Ocean Music of Jim Hiscott Jim Hiscott Molinari String Quartet Lori Freedman; Judith Kehler-Siebert; Paul Marleyn CBC MVCD 1166 "Blue Ocean" is a fine collection of Winnipeg-based composer and accordionist Jim Hiscott's works dating from 1990 to 2001 . While the use of repetitive motives is a common thread throughout, of note is the development of Hiscott's compositional strengths over ~this period. . The earliest work, title track Blue Ocean, was inspired by the popul_ar music of Zai're and Cuba; scored for clarinet, button accordion, cello and piano, the motives here interplay cle~erly with the instrumentat10n. But 1t is not until the String Quartet No.2 (1998) that Hiscott seems to have a firm grasp of the importance of m­ terplay as a vehicle for musical ideas and the resulting emotions he so clearly wishes to evoke. Performed with beauty, precision and conviction by the ever-glorious Molinari S~ring Quartet, this work is the tour de force of the release. I have always admired Hiscott's ability to draw out phrases and make them sing and this is never more apparent tqan in "part tan?o" work, Waves of Passion. Roundmg o~t the disc is the lovely cello solo Swirl, a passionate piece with strumming strings performed by Paul Marleyn that was originally commissioned by fabric artist Cecile Clayton-Gouthro for a mixed-media piece. . The repetitive nature of Jim Hiscott's work may perhaps alienate at first, but upon repeated listening it is the reflective and meditative nature of his work that shines through. TiinaKiik ELECTROACOUSTICS Peachy Keen-0 Beth Anderson Pogus P21030-2 . This retrospective CD includes mne works from · the 1970s by this Kentucky-born composer whose teachers included John Cage, Terry Riley, Robert Ashley and Larry Austin. It begins with Torero Piece in which Anderson's mother discusses her relationship with her daughter, accompanied by a se~ies of phonemes derived from a pamtby-numbers set and spoken by the composer. . The role of voice is central to this CD, whether the composer is voicing her own pieces (as in all but t~ree tracks) or the voice 1s that of the chanting auctioneer in Ode, a tribute to Anderson's father. The electronic accompaniment in this piece seems to also have been derived from the voice, or the ghost of a voice, where all but the rhythm and the resonance have been removed. Most of the compositions draw on comprehensible texts, the two exceptions being massive keyboard works. Tower of Power is a graphic score for pipe organ played at maximum volume accompanied by four prerecorded such performances. On a home stereo system it is difficult to recreate the kind of vibratory immersion that must have taken place in the hall, but this recording does provide a good snapshot of what that experience might have bee~ l.ike. Fifteen simultaneous tracks of piano are heard in Joan, where the text is used to create a subtractive pitch system and the meaning of the words is entirely absent. "Peachy Keen-0" shows unusual integration of the perso~al an~ the musical, and a refreshmgly lighthearted attitude to sound. Gayle Young Migrations Stephane Roy empreintes DIGIT ALes IMED 0373 There is always a tricky balance between being open to external influence and maintaining an independent voice. Stephane Roy shows that he does not have to sacrifice his originality in order to draw from new influences. The range of musical sources emerging through his richly sifted A PRIL 1 - M AY 7 2004

electroacoustic textures vary, from bagpipes to Chinese music to Latin electronic grooves to circus music. This opens up the language of his work from what he has composed in the past. Rhythms and harmonies that were not there in his previous works have now come into the fold. Yet there are still those defining qualities - the wistful tones, the kaleidoscope of unfolding colours, the jagged changes, the overarching story and poetic sensibility - that have distinguished his music over the years. Stephane Roy is like a documentary maker who is not measured by the volume of his/her coverage over a specific subject (in the way that Roy portrays the multi-cultural mosaic of Montreal in Appartenances), but rather by the ability to chisel out the essence of something by zeroing in on the essential few bits. As Roy visits the diverse cultural musics on the streets of Montreal he does not include everything, but he does meld the essence of his subject with his lyrical sensibility, to create a very personalized portrait oflife in a community that he is discovering anew. In the years to come, this CD will be vintage Roy. Darren Copeland work recorded here, written between 1992 and 2002, are striking and provocative. The program opens with L 'impatience des limites, an electroacoustic reflection on the nature of time. It's rather like a sonic answer to some Zen koan which asks, "what is the sound oflite passing by?" - in fact all three pieces are Fort's responses to this question - and its breadth and spaciousness is mesmerizing. La paix de l 'entendre, for which the composer manipulated a recording made in a small boat as it sat for hours in the middle of an enormous lake, provides a different sort of aural meditation. Given the many ornithological contributions throughout the piece, it is perhaps worth mentioning that its premiere, most appropriately, took place in the Salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris. For the third work, silence radieux, Fort's· original material was recorded on a winter's walk and on the same route taken in summer. Perhaps the most ethereal work on the disc, it explores an abstract sound world just underneath the surface of a "real" one; and again the results are philosophically provocative. While some readers might not consider this robe "music" as it is more strictly defined, Fort's works are his own unique explorations of the "music of life", and provide many terraced moments of wonderment. Alison Melville JAZZ AND IMPROVISED MUSIC Lumiere dans la nuii: Bernard Fort (France, 1954) Empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0371 One Take (Volume One) Basso/Lofsky /DeFrancesco/Rezza Ahna Records ACD14282 Another in Empreintes Digitales's series of excellent electroacoustic CDs, this disc features three "essential" works by France's Bernard Fort. The composer's self-described modus operandi is "to fix time on media, then to penetrate it through slow motion, to experiment with duration, [and] to explore the depth of acoustic images." The results of his APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2004 With this release, Guido Basso be- . c;omes his own competition for a Juno this year, as his own lovely Lost In The Stars (see WholeNote's February issue) is also nominated. The CDs can stand direct comparison, though very different in concept and execution. On the earlier with-strings effort, the tlugelhorn master is front and centre in a carefully crafted setting,

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