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Album Review

The Glass Farm Ensemble, a chamber music group formed by relatively young musicians, boasts an unusual instrumentation: saxophone (soprano, tenor or baritone, according to the score's requirements), electric guitar, percussion, and piano. This lineup came about because of Louis Andriessen's 1991 piece "Hout," which appropriately opens In Four, the group's first recording. "Hout" is a fun, intricate weaving of four distinct yet related melodies with a strong rhythmic drive, and the Glass Farm Ensemble pulls it off gracefully and lightly. The other four pieces on the CD are all premiere recordings. One comes from the ensemble's inner circle: pianist Yvonne Troxler's three-part "Kaleidoskop," sadly a little too like "Hout" to make a mark right after Andriessen's work. Peter Herbert's "Deafening Silence" kicks off with a few loud guitar chords, hinting at a rock format that will never really crystallize, although things will get very beat-driven, with percussionist Matthew Gold playing the drum kit. Sadly, the kit is recorded classical orchestra-style, which robs the piece of its "oomph" factor. That rock element is better treated in Wolfgang Heiniger's "In Four," which calls for an extended drum kit, potent electric guitar, and tutti half-note runs reminiscent of Rock in Opposition groups like Henry Cow or "musique actuelle" artists like René Lussier. Stylistically, In Four draws favorable comparisons to Bang on a Can All-Stars. It can appeal to fans of avant-prog and contemporary music with a rock edge, although Glass Farm Ensemble would never be mistaken for a rock band. ~ François Couture, Rovi

In Four, Glass Farm Ensemble
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