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Kate Moore: Stories for Ocean Shells

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Album Review

The title Stories for Ocean Shells may seem mysterious, but dive in and sample that work and you'll find it unusually appropriate to the music: composer Kate Moore writes music with clear structures that seem to break out into narrative of one kind or another. Cellist Ashley Bathgate, a member of New York's Bang on a Can ensemble, met Moore in 2009, and the pair has developed an ongoing collaboration. It shows in the solo pieces, which have a haunting atmosphere and easily evoke the extra-musical scenarios that are outlined in a few words in the booklet. Several have a strongly spiritual component that Bathgate conveys well. These pieces are entirely within the conventional capabilities of the cello, but perhaps most compelling are those where other instruments are added. In the final "Broken Rosary," Bachian figurations on the cello are surrounded with a variety of quasi-electronic effects from a pedal steel guitar, completely divorced from its Hawaiian and country origins. It's a simple yet original, completely compelling idea. Each of the six works just transmits strongly, and the whole is probably unlike anything you've heard before elsewhere. An intriguing meeting of the minds between a representative of New York's durable experimental scene and the world beyond.

Kate Moore: Stories for Ocean Shells, Ashley Bathgate
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