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New Music Reviews

MICHAEL PELZEL: Gravity's Rainbow | Lili Reviews

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Certainly an arresting opening track! The thick, forceful sonorities are unashamedly blasting away in the foreground for the first six minutes of the large scale Mysterious Anjuna Bell before dissipating into quieter sonic landscape, showcasing the bells quite a fair bit more literally. However, the whole idea of bells, and bell-like sonorities permeates the work, sometimes implicitly through a wash of sound evoking a bell choir.

This is a composer who comes at music from a very ‘sound-first’ perspective; the foreground sonorities are the focal point almost at all times. Although I usually tend to feel that this leaves me with nothing to sink my teeth into as a listener, Pelzel gives us enough variety of sounds that are at least interesting and structures that have a clear trajectory over time that it does just about hold my attention. Such is the case with the slower-paced Carnaticophobia and Gravity’s Rainbow that I felt like I knew what to expect by the time Alf-Sonata started playing.

’Alf’-Sonata is a bizarre post-Ligeti, post-modern piece originally written to be featured in a concert based around the rather quirky idea of contemporary music encountering popular TV series. In this case, the TV series is ALF. I do wish I could have seen this in its original performance context, because I’m not sure how well it works in isolation as a purely audio experience. It certainly is fun, though! A nice ‘comic relief’ track.

Danse Diabolique returns to the earlier flavour of large-scale works, thick textures and deep, rich sonorities that sustain until jump-cutting to a totally contrasting wall of sound. Pelzel creates a variety of alluring timbral passages and ideas which seem to emerge from the depths of the large ensemble. The ‘dance’ aspect of the piece is sometimes quite obscured, only sometimes rising out of the murky cluster chords and dark trills and glissandi in the form of a recognisable rhythm.

This is some very characterful music and certainly a treat for the ears!

Originally posted here.

Updated Mar-15-2020 at 00:01 by Lilijana