Various Artists, Portraits

John Schaefer

By John Schaefer

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Here's a compilation from one of America's most carefully curated new music labels. John Adams is represented here by an excerpt from a relatively early piece called "Light Over Water", for brass ensemble and synthesizers. It's a fine example of Adams 'personal take on the symphonic form, electronic technology and the language of Minimalism, the radical style pioneered by Philip Glass and Steve Reich in the '60s and '70s. The post-Minimalist aesthetic also colors Stephen Scott's bowed piano music (yup, a piano whose strings are bowed), the chamber music of electric guitarist Paul Dresher and the tape/process music of Daniel Lentz. The real winner here though is Ingram Marshall's "Fog Tropes", for brass sextet and ambient sounds on tape. The music clearly evokes night on San Francisco Bay, lost in the fog… and the kids in the clubs think they know about chilly music.