Exposé Online banner

Neil Rolnick — The Economic Engine
(Innova 724, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01

The Economic Engine Cover artAmerican composer Neil Rolnick has been working in the intersection of music and computers since the 70s, and this recent recording presents fully realized visions of several directions you can go from that intersection. The centerpiece is the title work, which combines an ensemble of Chinese traditional string instruments (Music from China) with a Western string quartet (the Todd Reynolds String Quartet) plus the composer on live digital processing. The result is a fascinating journey through the sounds of a vibrant emerging economy, with its nods to the past courtesy of the erhu, guzheng, and pipa, and its emulation of the West courtesy of the violins, viola, and cello; the digital processing represents the high-tech gloss found in Chinese cities. There are plenty of unexpected juxtapositions, accurately reflecting the reality of China. The CD is filled out with three other pieces, the first of which is a lengthy duet for piano and violin. Oddly enough for Rolnick, it includes no digital processing. In the liner notes, he remarks that he became so fascinated by the acoustic sounds he felt no need to alter them. In addition to requiring a fair amount of virtuosity, the piece is an interesting combination of modern classical with influences from jazz. “Uptown Jump” returns to Rolnick’s fondness of unusual instrumentation. It’s a rhythmic piece scored for flute, harp, and percussion. The album finishes off with a piece recorded in 1983 by the composer (on Synclavier) and a relatively large chamber ensemble.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Neil Rolnick

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Baku Llama - Eris – Eris is the debut release by this Southern California based trio, oft given to systematic discoveries in the rockier terrains of what one might call soundtrack music. Their vision is rooted in...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues