In her debut album Lung, violinist-composer Adrianne Munden-Dixon and a cohort of 5 composers unveil buzzing dreamscapes and digital vistas for solo violin. Launched Jan. 27 on Gold Bolus Recordings, the album encompasses fickle moods that vary from calm contemplation to twitchy jitteriness, and Munden-Dixon’s shapeshifting technical facility underscores the distinctiveness of the various textures inside every bit.
A founding member of the string quartet Desdemona, Munden-Dixon grew up in Georgia and now lives in New York and Montreal. Her first winter in Canada impressed her personal contribution to the album, Zastrugi, that means ridges of snow fashioned on a discipline by the wind, which reminded Munden-Dixon of the dunes in coastal Georgia, .
Zastrugi opens with a quick, jerky motif that comes again in lots of guises. A pitchless papery rustling is completed by softly caressing the bow over the strings, suggesting gusts over the snowy landscapes. Because the piece progresses, the tempo and textures shift dramatically, constructing an atmospheric soundscape that’s as jagged and spiky as it’s ethereal. The unknowability retains us on our toes, because the strategies change from gradual, grating overpressure on the strings to a sinister jig, and again to the sound of wind.
Zeagrass/Reed, by fellow Desdemona member Carrie Frey, takes inspiration from Arkady Martine’s science fiction novel A Reminiscence Known as Empire and from choose-your-own-adventure books: the performer can journey between sections at will, based on Frey’s notes. The piece stitches collectively fractured tones, wispy intonations, and abrupt, gushing arpeggiations. When Munden-Dixon bows the harshest, the motion over the bridge sounds insectoid and distorted, with bristling harmonics and edgy discolorations. To make sure, there are acquainted units of up to date music, like bouncing the bow on the strings, and the identical raspy, grinding bow overpressure — you may inform that Frey and Munden-Dixon are of 1 thoughts — however the acidic tone of the violin and the pure distortion reveal a sound palette not typically explored in solo violin repertoire.
For wildly contrasting items, strive Maria Kaoutzani’s Arachne and Cassie Wieland’s Lung. The previous (‘spider’) is a hyperactive tarantella that cavorts everywhere with roguish impudence. Within the second half, the music grinds to a halt, shifting in spurts solely to all of a sudden erupt at full pace once more. The recording makes use of excessive reverb that provides Munden-Dixon the impression of cavernous spaciousness.
Wieland’s Lung feels like a lullaby for the Earth through which ethereal textures — Munden-Dixon performs pitchlessly on the bridge — alternate with repeated single notes and overtones that peal on high. There’s echo once more, suggesting expansive open fields, maybe a desolate panorama. The motivic gestures repeat and pace up and are performed extra stridently as they construct to a climax. It’s a bittersweet lament for one thing you may really feel however can’t fairly put your finger on. The total story stays untold, as Wieland’s accompanying poem suggests:
all of us maintain tales in our particulars
in our palms
in our eyelids
in our lungs
One of many two items for solo violin and electronics, Era, by Phong Tran opens with a low drone and a shadowy violin that weaves in thickening threads, as an ascending motif repeats and features depth. On the climax, the violin clashes towards raspy, buzzing electronics that whoosh out in a supercharged ambiance, just like the staticky display of an outdated tube TV.
Dimvoid “seeks expression in gentle, voids, and contradiction,” writes composer David Chook in his notes. The piece takes its title from Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho; its fashion was influenced by the absurdist author’s wordplay. The electronics burble, buzz, and sparkle, generally flashing out with sci-fi eeriness; the violin types corrosive figures that undulate round unstable textures, generally turning into nestled within the electronics. The dizzying strobe-light depth of the explosive second half proves virtually unendurable.
The six items on Lung, commissioned by Munden-Dixon in 2020, are pushed by a nervy thrust and unified by recurring prolonged strategies — the wind, the uncomfortable overpressure, and the spacious reverberation. If this makes the album an exploration of sound phenomena, the music, at its most direct, is pure melancholy — an anxious cry at evening.
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