Solo Traveler: Music for Music Boxes

Solo Traveler: Music for Music Boxes

by John Morton


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Solo Traveler: Music for Music Boxes

A companion piece to the composer's first album, Outlier, John Morton's Solo Traveler again finds him creating musical works out of reconfigured music boxes, with sound processing and other performers added on occasion. Typical is the opening track, "Teetines," which begins in what sounds like a familiar pattern of sounds from an old-fashioned music box, but becomes increasingly complex as collaborator Miguel Frasconi's mbiras and toy pianos are added. The title track combines the sounds of five music boxes with the singing of the vocal group Dare to Breathe, who sing the words of Cynthia Nadelman's poem "The Cathedral as Process." It's good that those words are reproduced inside the CD booklet, because they could not easily be comprehended from the singing, which treats the syllables largely as sounds to be repeated, extended, and mixed up, just as Morton's music boxes rearrange the simple, conventional melodies the boxes originally played before he began reconstructing them. The composer works alone on the final three tracks, beginning with the music box sounds and then altering them and adding electronic and other sounds, notably the sound of piano wire pulled through holes in the music boxes during "Through the Wall." "Amazing Grace Variations," which closes the album, employs an existing melody at first, but takes it into unexpected and amazing sonic explorations. Morton's music isn't for everyone, not even for every fan of contemporary classical music, but it is a fascinating mixture of the commonplace and the avant-garde.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/10/2007
Label: Innova Records
UPC: 0726708666521
catalogNumber: 665
Rank: 288722

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