Exposé Online banner

Michael Byron — Fabric for String Noise
(Cold Blue CB0054, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-03-20

Fabric for String Noise Cover art

Byron is a contemporary composer who to date has released about half a dozen albums on Cold Blue Music as well as a few more on other labels, and like many or most Cold Blue releases, the composer is not the performer. In this case the 21-minute two-part “Fabric for String Noise” was composed for the duo String Noise, “avant-punk” classical violinists Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim-Harris, who have been active on the NY scene since 2011, having performed over 50 works by various composers. “Fabric for String Noise” is aptly described as a “tremendous and relentless river of complex polyphony and polyrhythms” and in fact that is correct. There is a constant interaction of high-register violin playing, fast notes that restlessly move within a colorful mathematical tapestry that only lets up at the break between the two parts, at times vaguely reminiscent of chinese classical music, but missing the culture behind it. What we have here is wonderful and, to a degree, cosmic, but one needs to listen to it intently to appreciate the full scope of what’s on offer, otherwise it may seem like just a bunch of screechy noise and certainly not a pleasant experience as background music. The third track here is “Dragon Rite,” a mesmerizing piece written for four bowed double-basses, although all of the four parts are all performed by James Bergman, a Los Angeles based graduate of the Juliard School. The piece is only eight minutes long, and slowly morphs, groans, and grows among the lowest of registers, with any one of the four parts often going silent, thereby allowing one of the others to be heard through the dense fabric of the piece. It’s difficult to relate in words what is mysteriously circulating throughout this piece, but to the listener it will likely be a truly immersive experience, though I could use more than merely eight minutes of it. So the disc is only about thirty minutes in length but represents both extremes of the string experience: the high register, nervously restless fabric of two violins, and the low-end soothing fabric of four basses.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Byron

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

You Are Here - You Are Here – You Are Here are a new band out of Toronto with this eponymous EP as their debut. First off, I should point out that while a keyboard player is present, this quintet have a much newer and younger...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues