Paul Dresher

Paul Dresher: Cage Machine

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Paul Dresher's 2004 release on New Albion features four vital works from 1994 to 2002, which are distinguished by inventive sonorities, driven motor rhythms, and, most pertinently, a blending of many influences: from the avant-garde to rock and minimalism, and beyond, even to the outer reaches of electronica. Dresher's music may seem wildly eclectic, for the styles and moods of his aggressive, rock-oriented Concerto for violin and electro-acoustic band and the serene, almost conventional Elapsed Time for violin and piano are dramatically skewed, as if they were works by two composers. Similarly, the eerie soundscapes of In the Name(less) for quadrachord and marimba lumina and the international rock of Din of Iniquity for electro-acoustic band could be construed as radically divergent in expression, language, and direction. Yet Dresher, a flexible composer for theater and dance, has an enormous capacity to absorb contemporary idioms and the cleverness to mix elements when they suit his needs and the skills of his favorite players. Violinist David Abel, pianist Julie Steinberg, marimbist Joel Davel, and Dresher's hand-picked Electro-Acoustic Band offer broad resources to this innovative composer, and display confidence and versatility in his extremely demanding works. The recorded sound is fine, but a little too hot on the opening track.

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