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|Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble||Primary Artist, Ensemble|
|Paul D. Miller||Bass|
|Daniel Bernard Roumain||Violin|
|Phil Kline||Composer, Remixing|
|Jack Dangers||Composer, Remixing|
|Philip Blackburn||Label Direction|
|David Lang||Composer, Remixing|
|Todd Reynolds||Composer, Remixing|
|Glenn Kotche||Composer, Remixing|
|Rob Stephenson||Composer, Remixing|
|Michael Lowenstern||Composer, Remixing|
|Luke Dubois||Composer, Remixing|
|Silas Brown||Producer, Mastering|
|Dennis DeSantis||Composer, Remixing|
|Zoe Keating||Composer, Remixing|
|Daniel Bernard Roumain||Composer, Remixing|
|Bill Ryan||Director, Producer, Executive Producer, Mastering|
|Nico Muhly||Composer, Remixing|
|Mason Bates||Composer, Remixing|
|DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid||Composer, Remixing|
|Erik Mikael Karlsson||Composer, Remixing|
|Ben Polatin||Graphic Design|
|Jad Abumrad||Composer, Remixing|
The lines between various types of modern classical music and various types of electronic music have been blurring. In England, the London Sinfonietta performed works of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Classical labels have remixed works by Philip Glass, Steve Reich (2 CDs on the Nonesuch label), and now Terry Riley.
The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, under the direction of Bill Ryan, recorded Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" a few years ago on the Innova label. The CD got great reviews, and youtube.com has a short documentary video about the making of the recording. For 2010, the ensemble has recorded Riley's seminal work, "In C", and they invited a number of artists (from many genres of musical life) into the studio, to offer their individual interpretations of the ensemble's recording.
The majority of this 2-CD set features remixes by artists such as Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Glenn Kotche (Wilco), bass clarinetist Michael Lowenstern (who has also recorded works by John Zorn, Reich, Anton Webern, and Iannis Xenakis), Zoe Keating (Rasputina), and David Lang (one of the co-founders of Bang On A Can). The diversity of styles is certainly one of the attractive features of this unique collection, but a little cherry-picking may be required to get the most out of your listening experience.
Some of the tracks fall under the same category as Aphex Twin's ambient works. Others are just tedious dance tracks. For the price, the 21-minute final track, an abbreviated version of the original "In C" composition, is worth the money. GVSU New Music Ensemble has been around less than a decade, and they have already made an impressive mark.
Posted October 1, 2010
I generally avoid remix projects, which tend to be reductive, ego-driven exercises that fail to respect and/or illuminate the spirit of the original pieces. A happy exception is "In C Remixed," which has been perpetrated by the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble in a spirit of true creative exploration. This talented aggregation of young musicians has teamed with several contemporary composers, DJs, and electronica innovators to play with, deconstruct and subvert Riley's 1964 masterpiece in all manner of bewitching ways. The composer himself is on record as being amazed at some of the alternate versions conjured on this two-disc collection. While retaining much of the trancelike intensity of Riley's epochal work, the remixers explore a variety of moods as they steer the piece into the realms of ambient, rock, electronics, breakbeat, even funk. And while "In C" is typically played on keyboard instruments, it is brought to life here through a broad instrumental palette, including piano, xylophone, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, flute, cello, violin, bassoon and accordion. The very structure of the work, with its repeated intermeshing phrases and steady pulse, has always been open to fresh interpretations; the GVSU ensemble has simply taken this dynamic to another level. The arrangements are all (with one exception) successfully realized. On first listen, I was most intrigued by Mikael Karlsson and Rob Stephenson, who break "In C" down into icy abstract sound snippets while somehow maintaining a sparsely melodic cohesion; David Lang, whose take is full of brooding drama; and Michael Lowenstern, who adds a surprising Middle-Eastern-flavored funk to the mix. But these are just several of the many interpretive jewels in this collection, one that invites and demands repeated visitations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2010
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