Friday, May 2, 2014

Glenn Kotche: Adventureland

Glenn Kotche
Cantaloupe Music

Glenn Kotche's latest effort is indeed an audio adventure. The major  work -- Anomaly -- was written for the Kronos Quartet, who perform in this recording. The concept is intriguing -- treat acoustic instruments (a string quartet) as an extension of a drum kit, shading the drums' indefinite pitches with specific notes played by the paired stringed instrument.

Each of Anomaly's seven movements examines this interface from a different perspective, using the building blocks of minimalism to create tension and motion -- with just a touch of rock n' roll.

Interspersed throughout Anomaly are short solo works by Kotche. These are mostly electronic, with so much packed into each piece that they actually seem much larger than they are.

I recommend listening to this album two ways -- first, as the composer intended with all the tracks in order. The moving back and forth from Anomoly to the other pieces creates an organic and compelling meta-composition. The second way is to just listen to the Anomaly movements. The interconnections between the movements become much clearer, and almost assumes a different character when heard as an integrated whole.

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