Exposé Online banner

Larry Polansky — FreeHorn
(Cold Blue CB0049, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-09-24

FreeHorn Cover art

I’ve played this a couple dozen times or more, and every time it has hit me differently, sometimes gentle, sometimes overtly avant-garde, sometimes quite ambient and relaxing overall (in fact variations of the latter are probably my most typical response), but other feelings are hidden within the elongated and interactive layers of the primary title track. Unlke many composers on the Cold Blue label, Polansky actually plays, as well as composing and arranging the pieces. The 20 minute title “FreeHorn” opens the set with Polansky performing on fretless electric guitar, with Giacomo Fiore on a standard electric guitar (for lack of a better term, nothing here is standard), Amy Beal (piano), David Dunn (electric violin), Monica Scott (cello), Tom Dambly (trumpet), Krystyna Bobrowski (French horn), and David Kant on tenor sax and computer. These musicians all hail from the Sana Cruz / Oakland / San Francisco area, and all are respected musicians and composers in their own rite, members of various ensembles at Mills College, UC Santa Cruz, and others in the greater Bay Area. “FreeHorn,” over its duration using protracted notes and multple layers of sound and silence produces a near trance like effect. The second piece “ii-v-i” is a little over eight minutes, and features only Polansky and Fiore on their respective guitars, a tightly composed sequence of criss-crossing colorful geometric musical shapes that cover the full range of the instruments, providing an intense kaleidoscopic world for the imagination to explore within. The album closes with “Minmaj,” another guitar duo, this time with both players on fretted electrics, doing an arrangement of Carl Ruggles’ 1921 composition “Angels,” a piece originally for muted brass. Three pieces here, all completely different, each with their own lexicon. Recommended listening.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Larry Polansky

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Fritz Doddy - The Feeling of Far – Solo artist concept projects were all the rage of 2005 it seems as singer and composer Fritz Doddy follows suit with his second album. Doddy is an exclusive user of Apple computer software,...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues