- This is my Line
- To Love
- Doublespeak, for chamber ensemble
- Murder Ballades, for chamber ensemble
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Filament is eighth blackbird's seventh album on Cedille, continuing the group's electrifying explorations of avant-garde and minimalist chamber music. As the title suggests, there are connections that run through the five works on the program, and listeners are teased into finding the strands that join these pieces and give them their energy. To this end, they should play the album in sequence, to give due credit to Bryce Dessner's surprisingly whimsical and lively "Murder Ballades," Nico Muhly's hypnotically spinning "Doublespeak," and Son Lux's "To Love" and "This Is My Line," two remixes pulsing with nervous energy. These pieces have a familial resemblance, insofar as the composers are colleagues and friends who share many influences, perhaps most obviously through varieties of minimalism. Repetitive patterns bring these connections to Philip Glass, whose extremely rigorous "Two Pages" is the most challenging piece on the album. Composed as a stream of figures to be played in unison on any combination of instruments, "Two Pages" tests the musicians' skills and nerves, not only because it requires absolute precision but also because it was recorded live, without benefit of retakes. This album demands much of its performers and audience, but the vitality of the music and eighth blackbird's stunning virtuosity make it a compelling experience.