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Peter Garland — The Basketweave Elegies
(Cold Blue CB0066, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-03-28

The Basketweave Elegies Cover art

A world traveler and musicologist, Garland’s own compositions are at once steeped in post-minimalism and informed by his travels and other interests, and from those that I have heard thus far, can go just about anywhere within a modern classical context. The title The Basketweave Elegies was originally intended as a tribute to the late artist Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) who was known for her woven wire sculptures, and also the composer’s lifelong interest in basketry. How does that translate into music? At hand we have an album of compositions for solo vibraphone performed by percussionist William Winant, who also featured prominently on Michael Byron’s Halcyon Days. This is essentially one long composition of four movements (the even numbered tracks) preceeded and followed by lyrical refrains (the odd numbered cuts), for a total of nine segments. At first the listener might find this suite to be very stark and introspective, though repeat listens unveil the beauty and warmth of the compositions as well as Winant’s masterful execution. Being a purely instrumental endeavor, there isn’t a lot of repetition, and at 35 minutes total it may seem at first to be a lot longer than that, that is until the listener has been through it enough times to establish a degree of familiarity with the proceedings. The sound of the vibraphone alone by itself with its natural reverb seems to have a calming effect — at least on this listener, sort of an ambient tranquility that is at once dreamy and colorful. In the silence that follows that last note, one’s natural instinct is to press the repeat button; it’s a good, immersive feeling that one will want to continue to bask in. I can’t recommend The Basketweave Elegies highly enough.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Garland

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