Exposé Online banner

Stephen Whittington — Windmill
(Cold Blue CB0048, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-09-19

Windmill Cover art

Australian composer Stephen Whittington’s latest release features two extended compositions performed by the Zephyr string quartet, a group based in Adelaide who also compose, improvise, and perform regularly. The first is a roughly 25 minute seven-part piece “…From a Thatched Hut,” which draws ideas from Chinese culture and music, blending them with with Western ideas. The thatched hut was a place where ancient recusive poets would go to withdraw from the world, creating words, calligraphy, painting, and music. The seven movements were conceived as a cycle, each with its own identity and themes, with clear differences in style in each. In particular, the opening section “The Unnameable” seems to be an excercize in disonnance and freedom from form, but it segues nicely into what comes after. “Windmill” is a single ten minute piece of wandering repetition and frequent stops and starts that truly captures the title. One can feel the breeze slowly turning the wheel, with the strings maintaining a fairly steady but slow pace as the piece evolves, and then changes and inverts occasionally to create interest, which continues throughout its duration, sometimes stopping for long periods then starting up again. Throughout, the quartet of two violins, viola, and one cello defines the musical parameters, and at times, especially on the last piece I find myself wishing that there were more sounds in the bass register. But it is what it is, and the entire disc is nonetheless quite interesting, and in fact somewhat soothing and rejuvenating to listen to repeatedly.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Stephen Whittington

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Carpe Diem - Cueille le Jour – Unjustifiably overlooked, Cueille de Jour is the follow-up to this quintet's monster debut — and an outstanding representation of the best that France had to offer in the seventies. Their highly...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues