Exposé Online banner

Matt Sargent — Separation Songs
(Cold Blue CB0055, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-11-15

Separation Songs Cover art

With Separation Songs, upstate-New York based composer, guitarist, music technologist, and audio engineer Matt Sargent makes his first appearance in the pages of Exposé. His music is often based on natural resonances and repeating structures, and is generally pensive and serene. The music at hand features The Eclipse Quartet, a Los Angeles based group featuring Sarah Thorneblade and Sara Parkins on violins, Alma Lisa Fernandez on viola, and Maggie Parkins on cello. The “songs” in Separation Songs are actually the hymns of 18th century composer William Billings, although the way they are presented here is as a compilation of the hymns overlapping throughout a single extended piece of music (73 minutes in length), and the way Sargent reworked the pieces was for two string quartets – The Eclipse Quartet handles both via overdubbing, juxtaposing a number of Billings’ hymns, weaving them together, and altering them slowly as the piece unfolds, going through a ‘separation’ process where certain elements of the hymns are transferred from one string quartet to the other. With little familiarity of the source hymns, and its generally samey rhythmic and melodic pace throughout, I found the piece fairly interesting for about the first ten minutes, which turned into tiring after about the fifteen minute mark, and in the many times I listened to it preparing for this review, I never made it all the way through in a single sitting; there are no surprises in the last 60 minutes, which are pretty much the same as the first ten or fifteen. Simply stated, it’s just too long to keep a listener interested over the long haul. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this would have been a great piece at around twelve minutes.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Matt Sargent

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

André Andersen - Changing Skin – Anderson is the keyboardist of Royal Hunt, a progressive metal band from Denmark that released the album Paradox on Magna Carta a couple years ago (and four more on other labels before that). The...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues