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Reviews

The Great Hunt

With a lilting, waltz-like melody the text seems to be a throwback to a time when we paid more attention to our surroundings. Passersby has a wonderfully breezy flute obbligato by Christine Tavolacci that floats above a determined vocal line, and this manages to impart just a hint of pop sentiment.

– Paul Muller, New Classic LA

The music of Alex Wand is a kaleidoscopic wonderland of sound with various instruments forming beautiful soundscapes paired with curious spoken and sung lyrics.

– Bradford Werner, This is Classical Guitar

Plucking

The hypnotic music of Tom Johnson spin fantastic melodies that delightfully arch and turn. Johnson’s music reminds me of some of my favourite Feldman and Fujieda: contradictory in its simplicity, yet complex with rotating motivic development.

– Bradford Werner, This is Classical Guitar

The 10,000 Things

“The performances are crisp and crystalline, and the engineering and production (by John Schneider) are stellar, giving each musical idea its own sonic space even when several figures are overlapping.

There’s something really gratifying about being able to create your own versions of the piece that are different every time, and I especially enjoy the suggestive silences of the sparser solos and duos…It’s an incredibly clear demonstration of the unexpected and delightful confluences that result from chance-based procedures, and in many ways, I can think of no better introduction to Cage’s music.”

– Isaac Schankler, NewMusicBox.org

 If you’re interested in The Ten Thousand Things, you’re almost certainly going to be an active listener, and this version enables as active a listening experience as you’re probably ever going to get of Cage’s music outside a concert hall….Of course, none of this would matter if the performances themselves weren’t worthwhile. Thankfully, they are all top notch.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated group of Cage-o-philes than the four who performed here.

– CK Dexter Haven, allisyar.com

The performers do a wonderful job: these are very challenging pieces to play. There is a lightness and clarity in the playing that is both completely appropriate and refreshing here, not the kind of sweaty bang-you-on-the-head style that is common among some virtuoso new music performers. The performers stay out of the way and allow the bewildering diversity of musical events arise, change, and pass away continuously in front of our ears.

Even though John Cage was notoriously averse to recordings, he would nevertheless have loved this. He would have found it, as I do, a marvelous realization of what he was aiming at fifty years ago. An interactive computerized version of The Ten Thousand Things is the fulfillment of a dream he didn’t even know he had.

– James Pritchett, Author, The Music of John Cage (Cambridge)
rosewhitemusic.com 

 “All the performances are spot on…These works are, at least on the surface, less ambitious than some of the composer, but they also seem particularly personal and evidence an extraordinary range of technique and expression. This is an artistic voice yes, of genius, but also of a fundamental integrity and modesty. Must-have listening for all interested in music of our time.

— Fanfare

Beyond 12, Volume 1

“Enormously rich and exotic in sound…it’s like moving from a 2D world to 3D, or even more dimensions…The music itself on this disc is repeatedly successful and diverse, even if one can’t always discern the differences in the systems the composers embrace. This is a remarkable debut. Kallay is a multiple threat: a great pianist, brainy tech wizard, and visionary promoter of a new musical practice. Beyond highly recommended.”

— Fanfare

…it rocks!

— New Classic LA

Aron Kallay handled the layering with imagination, carving out a niche for each type of gesture and thereby creating a richly associative mood in which the play of motives could breathe.

— The Artificialist

Mystic Canyon

“An impressively ‘hearty hybrid’ of Eastern and Western approaches to making music….fascinatingly engaging.”

— Examiner.com

Mystic Canyon has a distinctively unique voice that would not be confused with the work of other composers drawn to Javanese music”

— Examiner.com

“reminds me of American minimalism, while maintaining a fairly rapid phrasing pace, avoiding the stretching of time perception that the well-known extreme minimalism strives for”

Andrew Meronek

“Stunningly beautiful pieces for violin and gamelan ranging from rhythmic and intense to serene and highly lyrical”

WRUV Reviews

Ranch & Reata readers are very eclectic in their creative choices, and Mystic Canyon will be a new lyrical adventure, well worth the trip.”

Ranch & Reata

Ruminations

Ruminations is filled with mystery, humour, and performances that will expand your musical horizons. Both general listeners and music buffs will enjoy the works for the curious musical figures and micro-tonal soundscapes, and how it’s all held together by relatable texts, forms, and an overall beautiful and mature aesthetic.

The actual guitar playing on this album is brilliant. Schneider has a mature sense of rhythmic flow as he weaves together various textures and gestures that compliment the vocal part (also performed by Schneider). The micro-tonal guitar sounds right at home in this work which is a testament to Johnston’s experience and comfort with the medium. The text is also wonderful. At times it can very introspective but then suddenly give you a laugh.

— Bradford Werner, thisisclassicalguitar.com

“More than 20 years ago, the music critic John Rockwell described Ben Johnston in the New York Times as ‘one of the best nonfamous composers this country has to offer.’ What has changed is that Johnston is now, I’d suggest, our best nonfamous composer.”    

— Mark Swed, LA Times

“It’s clear that Johnston is striving to look beyond the purely experimental associations of just intonation, rather using it as a way to achieve a greater communicative power not available within the limited tools of equal temperament—and he does so masterfully.”

— Tempo

 “All the performances are spot on…These works are, at least on the surface, less ambitious than some of the composer, but they also seem particularly personal and evidence an extraordinary range of technique and expression. This is an artistic voice yes, of genius, but also of a fundamental integrity and modesty. Must-have listening for all interested in music of our time.

— Fanfare 

The Wayward Trail

“This album is extraordinary for its music, the instrument, and quality performances. The Wayward Trail by Elliot Simpson ranges from beautiful soundscapes to rustic dances and is filled with the mysterious harmonies of the unique just intonation guitar. The best thing about this album is not just its contribution to new music but the absolutely wonderful listening experience it gives to both new music fans and general listeners. I’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting and engaging new music guitar album.”

– Bradford Werner, thisisclassicalguitar.com

Guitars & Gamelan

“Tour de force…a knockout…it will give you a charge for the rest of your day.”

Fanfare

“almost pure rock-style shredding, making the resulting composition a particularly stunning superposition of strikingly (pun sort of intended) different worlds”

The Examiner