Dither

Dither

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New York-based electric guitar quartet Dither have produced a very interesting debut album. The electric guitar quartet -- not a huge leap from the classical string quartet -- has not been explored as much as you might think. Examples are few and usually derive from an interest in (or desire to break away from) rock music, like in the cases of the ensembles of Robert Fripp or Fred Frith. On this eponymous release, guitarists Taylor Levine, David Linaburg, Joshua Lopes, and James Moore perform five works, four by outside composers, one by Lopes. That piece, "Pantagruel," is the more eccentric one, flashing rock licks and noise textures, alternating between exacting melodies and twang mayhem -- a fun piece. Lainie Fefferman's "Tongue of Thorns" is sludge rock for the cognoscenti, numb chords and all. The album's focal point is Lisa R. Coons' four-part, 24-minute "Cross-sections," a very thoughtful work that taps into the contrapuntal string quartet tradition, guitar music history, and American atonalism. The performances are top-notch, and the album as a whole is diverse enough (between the delicate intricacies of "Cross-sections" and the all-out guitar barrage of "exPAT") to sustain your interest throughout.

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