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Cage Machine

Paul Dresher

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Album Review

Cage Machine is a collection of four chamber works written by Paul Dresher between 1994 and 2002, two of them scored for his Electro-Acoustic Band, one for violin and piano, and one, interestingly enough, for two recently invented instruments: the quadrachord (an electrically amplified four-string instrument of Dresher's own design) and the Marimba Lumina (a MIDI percussion controller invented by Don Buchla). The Concerto for Violin and Electro-Acoustic Band is a two-part work, the first titled Cage Machine and heavily influenced by the prepared piano sounds of John Cage, and the second titled Chorale Times Two and based on harmonic ideas inspired by the chorales of J.S. Bach. This is the most abrasive, but by no means the least beautiful of the works presented on this album, and violinist David Abel's performance is exquisite. Elapsed Time at first appears to be a conventional violin and piano sonata, but its organization has little or nothing to do with sonata form and its harmonic structure is based on an unusual scale pattern; the piece has a lyrical, almost romantic flavor and yet creates a deeply strange and quite wonderful ambience. In the Name(less) is notable primarily for the strange instruments, though its final movement is lots of good, quirky fun, and Din of Iniquity ends the program on an almost rock-ish note in a manner reminiscent of the early Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. This is a mixed but ultimately very rewarding collection of pieces from one of America's brightest young composers.

Biography

Born: 08 January 1951 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Studied with Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros, Bernard Rands. Ghanaian drumming with C.K. and Kobla Ladzekpo, Hindustani classical music with Nikhil Banerjee, and Balinese and Javanese music. Guitarist with live delay systems. Organizer Electro-Acoustic Band, artistic director Paul Dresher Ensemble. Collaborations about American culture Slow Fire (1985-88), Power Failure (1988-89), and Pioneer...
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Cage Machine, Paul Dresher
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