Arsenal of Democracy is the first solo recording by deconstructionist composer Julia Wolfe. Wolfe, who is the co-founder of New York's annual Bang On a Can festival, takes the orchestra from its traditional methods of emotional coaxing and replaces them with a ballistic immediacy that challenges the entire impression of what modern orchestration can achieve. The five pieces contained on Arsenal of Democracy weave rich layers of minimal, almost indeterminate constructs that define freedom by deconstructing traditional orchestral cogency. Through her music, Wolfe confronts the same romantic questions that addressed themselves to American artists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Cage: why does tradition set the standards by which to judge modern art when evolution is always in progress? Musical evolution is reinforced by artists like Wolfe who choose to feel the things around them for themselves instead of relying on the template of the past. On Arsenal of Democracy, Wolfe conducts the SPIT Orchestra, Lark Quartet, Orkest de Volharding, Cassatt String Quartet, and Newband. Wolfe's first recording has a unique, democratic freedom that strikes without warning and doesn't need to be reminded of a theme.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Matherly
feat: Cassatt String Quartet