Exposé Online banner

andPlay — Playlist
(New Focus Recordings FCR233, 2019, CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-11-01

Playlist Cover art

andPlay is the neoclassical avant-garde violin / viola duo of Maya Bennardo and Hannah Levinson. Both have taught music at the university level and have advanced degrees. In 2019 they released their debut album Playlist, a collection of four instrumentals by four different composers. The avant-garde nature of the music (scraping strings and bridges, banging instruments, glissandos, etc.) must be extremely challenging to perform, especially when the music is outside the confines of familiar time signatures and scales. The opening piece is Ashkan Behzadi’s “Crescita Plastica,” a long frenzied duel of glissando notes soaring out of hearing range, short sonic bursts, scrapings, and quiet interludes. The musical score itself must be very strange to view and interpret. No scratch, sputter, swell, or simple note is played without intention. On the second track, a performance of David Bird’s “Bezier,” andPlay sound like they have completely untethered themselves as they perform this unhinged and insane composition of chirps, chittering strings, scraping, banging, and violin playing. I simply cannot imagine what impact performing works like this have on the instruments. Track three, Clara Iannotta’s “Limun,” continues the adventure with note clusters, skidding bows, and fluttering harmonies interspersed with silence. The album closes with David Bird’s 16-minute “Apocrypha.” This piece is a bit more approachable with long sustained notes, reminding me of Ligeti and Stanley Kubrick’s score for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Listening to “Apocrypha” you sense that winter is coming and we are doomed. And just as you think that you have figured this piece out, it builds to a climactic battle of violin and viola strings, drones, scrapes, and gliding sirens. Playlist is a neoclassical release that will appeal to a very narrow audience.

Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): David Bird, andPlay

More info

Latest news

25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Sfinx - Zalmoxe – This one caught me completely off guard. I'd never even heard of this excellent Romanian band before the CD reissue — which made it for all the nicer surprise. One has to be somewhat...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues