Anti-Social Music

Fracture: The Music of Pat Muchmore

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The opening track on the rebel chamber music ensemble Anti-Social Music's debut album Sings the Great American Songbook (2005) was "Fracture II," a composition by cellist Pat Muchmore. The group's second release turns out to be entirely devoted to that composer's music. It's a good thing too, for Muchmore's soundworld requires some time to get into and fully explore. You see, the man's art is multi-versed, schizophrenic, and often intentionally misleading: ten minutes is not enough to let you grasp it. Fracture: The Music of Pat Muchmore is a thrilling, exhilarating, 70-minute journey through music many would qualify as mad or chaotic. Arguing that would be a moot point, but the fact is that, in time, this haphazardness -- themes cut short, mood swings, brutal interpolations -- becomes structural and produces its own meaning. That, and it doesn't prevent the existence of some beautiful, quiet passages (In "Fracture IV" and "String Quartet No. 2," in particular). The album features several works, the bulk of them being parts of the "Broken Aphorisms" suite. Numbers 12-14, 15, and 7-11 are included, in that order, although "Broken Aphorisms 7-11" are presented as part of a meta composition, or alongside another composition entitled "Palimpsest Beta" (though the title is actually written as "P@LiMp$35+ _: )"). They are all short (under five minutes) and explore simple, interconnected ideas. However, the real draw of the album is found in its first four pieces (all presented before the first group of aphorisms), and especially "Fracture IV" and "__ (PortRait__7,"NY06)", two long, complex, disrhythmical pieces. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the gentle though far from sedate "String Quartet No. 2," the longest piece on the album at 15 minutes. Fracture: The Music of Pat Muchmore is definitely not an easy listen, but it rewards as much as it shocks, and it sustains deeper analysis, revealing both a unique personal universe and an ensemble with an impressive set of music skills. Recommended.

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