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

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Cyrille Verdeaux - Messenger of the Son – Verdeaux' name should be familiar to many, he was the main mover in the intensely symphonic seventies French band Clearlight, whose first two albums Symphony and Forever Blowing Bubbles are essential...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues