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Album Review

This disc — good to see Phill Niblock's music appearing on a predominantly contemporary classical imprint — contains two versions of "Disseminate," an orchestral work originally commissioned in 1998 by Petr Kotik for his S.E.M. Ensemble, in recordings made in Ostrava by Kotik and the Ensemble OCNM (with members of the Janácek Philharmonic) and Gent with the Brussels-based Q-O2 Ensemble. For the latter, Niblock recorded six versions of the piece with an ensemble consisting of viola, cello, clarinet/saxophone, flute, and trombone, while the larger forces used in the Czech Republic result in a thicker and harmonically denser sound — a darker cloud, to quote the composer. The gradual corruption of the pure octave D though incremental microtonal displacement recalls Glenn Branca's incidental music for Peter Greenaway's Belly of an Architect, but whereas his contributions lasted barely two minutes, Niblock expands a unison out into a minor third over 22 minutes. The two readings of "Disseminate" bookend the central "Kontradictionaries," also 22 minutes long, a work written in 1999 for a typical Niblock combination of instruments, a trio consisting of contrabass flute, contrabass saxophone, and contrabass tuba. Niblock recorded samples of the instruments, which were subsequently pitch-shifted and mixed together into a 24-track recording for the musicians to play along with in concert.

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Niblock: Disseminate, Kontra-Trio
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