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Clogs — Lantern
(Brassland HWY-010, 2006, CD)
by K. Leimer, Published 2007-03-01
The high finish that contemporary chamber and smaller scale orchestral works exude in their discipline, precision, delicacy, and complexity has typically received only a cursory and sideways glance from more popular forms. At times works such as Arvo Pärt’s Fratres or Gavin Bryars’ neatly segmented A Man in a Room, Gambling and a few releases by Kronos Quartet may make such complexity seem more accessible, but only a few genuine attempts to organize shorter, popular forms around contemporary compositional ideas have been able to take hold. One success is Rachel’s. And another is Clogs. Lantern is their fourth CD, and it proves more accessible, more melodically and stylistically diverse than the preceding three. Clogs is here comprised of guitar (acoustic and electric), violin, viola, bassoon, and percussion — filled out as needed with piano, mandola, melodica, and ukulele. The musicians linger and race through 12 pieces built on complicated harmonic structures, atypical time signatures, carefully considered voicing and consistently brilliant playing. With fury and agitation, calm and the nearly somnolent melancholy of the title piece, these unsentimental and unusually beautiful compositions are completely free of prettiness and needless ornamentation, even to the extent that every piece eschews any kind of cadence, deceptive or otherwise. You’ll hear a brief quotation of Henry Cow and perhaps even a momentary nod in the direction of Rhys Chatham, as well as a vocal piece which, in its longing tone and nearly spoken delivery is the living definition of sotto voce. If we are reminded of anything, it is Clogs themselves.
Related artist(s): Clogs
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