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Leapday Night

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Album Review

Three warm, beautiful, and gently humorous compositions for computer-aided interactive electronics and improvising musicians Takehisa Kosugi (violin), Ben Neill (mutantrumpet), and Rhys Chatham (trumpet). "Interspecies Smalltalk" (1984) is a lovely interactive piece originally commissioned by the Cunningham Dance Company. In two scenes for performer and computer, the work features composer/performer Kosugi on electric violin improvising folk song-like melodies amidst lovely sustained chords, ascending and arpeggiated filter sweeps, and electronic pops ("like champagne corks"). The feeling of this music is direct, with a charming and engaging simplicity. "A Traveller's Dream Journal" (1990) is a rich and intriguing two-part soundscape created after Behrman worked in Walter Bachauer's Kreuzberg studio. The first section features a rhythmic mix of arpeggiated string-like figures that rapidly alternate and cascade, electronic bell and toy piano-like figures, tabla-like drums, scarcely identifiable animals that roar and caw and sing (triggering electronic events), a lightly washing seashore wave, and beautiful chords that illuminate, then fade away. This is not a collage, but a symphonic performance. The second section is similar to the first in its sound palette, with different rhythmic variations. Featuring Chatham and Neill, "Leapday Night" (1983-1986) is divided into three scenes, beginning with an active sequence of computer chords and small percussive rhythms. The mutantrumpet (a Neill invention with triple bells and mutable slides) is used to improvise among the computer tonalities. The chord sequences and rhythms of the second scene are in a new tuning, a unique kind of jazzy and cosmic blend. The mutantrumpet plays short single notes and melodic fragments as the sequence modulates through different tonal centers. The third scene features a slower sequence of rich modal (and still slightly "jazzy") computer harmonies with two trumpets playing long sustained tones that grow from or anticipate subsequent chords; one of the trumpeters initiated new computer sequences with a foot pedal. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi


Born: 16 August 1937 in Salzburg, Austria

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia. Produced Music of Our Time series for Columbia Records in 1960s. Co-founder Sonic Arts Union. Tours with Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1970s and 1990s. Co-director Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (1975-80). Also taught at Ohio State Univ. and CAL Arts, designed children's computer games at Children's Television Workshop. Toured under friendship grants from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the DAAD (Berlin). Many sound installations,...
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Leapday Night, David Behrman
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