CD Reviews

Michael Pisaro realised by Joe Panzner, Greg Stuart – White Metal

November 26, 2014

CD Makam This is the second realisation of Michael Pisaro’s White Metal to be released this year, and the second I have reviewed here. It is inevitable I guess that on the rare occasions that a contemporary score has two realisations released in a short period of time that reviewers like myself will draw comparisons […]

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CD Reviews

Joe Panzner, Greg Stuart – Dystonia Duos

May 26, 2013

CD ErstAEU The first release on Jon Abbey’s new offshoot of his Erstwhile label then, a new imprint that seeks to be somewhat mysterious about its identity and intentions. We are meant, I guess, to ponder over the cryptic meaning of the label’s acronym name, AMM style. Slightly more peculiar to me, is the decision […]

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CD Reviews

Friday 9th April

April 9, 2010

Californian composer Michael Pisaro’s music has long been a favourite of mine, and so just recently its been great to see his work garner a lot of positive attention, none more so than Yuko Zama’s remarkably in depth explorations of his recent music as can be read here. Given all that she and others have written about the recent 3″ disc July Mountain released in a small edition, and by now I imagine out of print on the Engraved Glass label I struggle to wonder what I might add. The fact that Michael, alongside his collaborator on this release Greg Stuart has a full length disc ready for release on my Cathnor label just make sit even more difficult for me.

That the music that forms July Mountain is really very beautiful will be no surprise to anyone that has heard Pisaro’s compositions before, so in many ways I can move on from that fact and perhaps try and work out why. The piece is a twenty-one minute composition for field recordings and percussion, but as with all of Pisaro’s work the score in itself is a work of art, a carefully arranged set of timed placements of the various elements, meticulously plotted over several pages of charts and finely detailed instruction. It also helps that Greg Stuart, the percussionist and close collaborator of Pisaro is extremely talented and very much in tune with the composer’s ways of working. The score for July Mountain can be downloaded here, and I encourage you to study it carefully so I won’t list everything it includes again. There are twenty field recordings spread methodically through the piece though, with ten of them sounding at any one time and their appearance and disappearance staggered, so as one ends another begins. The recordings are all to have been made in mountain or valley areas, and we hear birds twittering, cars and aircraft passing, distant voices chattering, the wind etc… Alongside this there are 143 separate recordings of persussion sounds divided into ten different groups of classification ranging from brushed drum sounds to falling rice grains to sinetones projected onto resonant surfaces and then recorded, through to a standard piano. Each of these sounds is placed carefully into the music by Pisaro. Even the piano sounds, which are split into 32 chord strikes, each one recorded separately and then panned through different stereo channels are arranged with precision timing, the first appearing at the eight minute mark, each further one occurring at twenty-two and a half second intervals thereafter.

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CD Reviews

Saturday 4th July

July 4, 2009

A break from improvisation today after a bit of an overload recently, I had a lovely day today, walking in the country and sitting in the garden with a sketchpad mainly, and not listening to too much music at all, but when I was listening, it was to composed music, either Schubert’s late chamber works […]

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