CD Walls of Sound II: Wallpatterns-Patternwalls (CD 1224921), Audio Other
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Walls of Sound II: Wallpatterns-Patternwalls

  • 1. Music in Fifths, for ensemble
    2. Pendulum Music, for 3 or more microphones, amps & loudspeakers
    3. Dorian Reeds, for soprano sax, harmonium & tape
    4. 1+1, for 1 player and amplified table top
    5. Reed Phase, for soprano sax & tape
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 218

  • Credits

    The second installment in Ulrich Krieger's Walls of Sound series focuses on three key figures of early American minimalism: Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley. After a first CD devoted to "drone music," here listeners have five works of "pattern music," where minimalist aesthetics are expressed through repetitive patterns and additive/subtractive processes. First up is Glass' "Music in Fifths," his first minimalist piece to have reached the ears of a wider audience. Krieger's arrangement for one soprano, one alto, two tenor, and two baritone saxophones has width and depth, but its most striking feature is the circular breathing he uses to waltz through the 11-minute duration without ever stopping the flurry of eighth-notes. Also quite pattern-heavy is Reich's "Reed Phase," which closes the album, although here phase shifting is the motor of the piece, instead of systematic additions and subtractions. The other Reich composition presented here, "Pendulum Music" is a conceptual piece for (here) eight microphones swinging above loudspeakers. It is interesting to follow how patterns evolve as the mikes fall out of sync with each other, but the concept has aged. The same applies to Glass' "1 + 1," for amplified tabletop -- and the knuckles knocking out the simple rhythm on it. "1 + 1" certainly has merits as a Western minimalist's view on Indian classical tabla playing, but Krieger's shaky -- at times downright clumsy -- performance makes it the most dispensable track of the album. On the other hand, the 32-minute rendition of Riley's "Dorian Reeds," transcribed from the composer's first recording of the piece, is a highly involving listen. Using modern delays in place of the crude devices available back in the mid-'60s, Krieger sends his two soprano sax tracks adrift, letting the listener rock between the waves on the ocean of sound. This recording proves how well this piece has aged and how it still relates closely to cutting-edge avant-garde music. ~ Franois Couture

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