Combining elements of early music with contemporary techniques in a postmodern approach to appropriation and assimilation, Reiko Füting has created works that defy easy categorization, yet intrigue with their inventiveness and spontaneity. His 2018 release on New Focus Recordings, Distant Song, demonstrates an abiding interest in the music of the past, particularly the music of Heinrich Schütz, yet shows an equal concern with the diversity and challenges of music in the present. Employing vocal ensembles, a percussion quartet, a viol da gamba quintet, and a duo of soprano and trumpet, Füting conveys unsettling, fragmented soundscapes that comment on societal and political issues through verbal references, startling stylistic juxtapositions, and extended techniques, and the subjects of the program range from appeals for peace to protests against political violence. The roster of artists includes the American Byrne-Kozar Duo (soprano Corrine Byrne and trumpeter Andy Kozar), the German vocal ensemble AuditivVokal Dresden with the gamba consort Art d'Echo, the American chamber group Loadbang, and the Dutch percussionists Oerknal with the vocal ensemble Damask, who are all fluent in Füting's hybrid language and skilled to handle his demanding writing. While a description of this album may suggest a disjointed welter of sounds, there are many spare textures and silences in Füting's music that give it room to breathe and make the music somewhat more accessible, despite its occasionally confrontational content. Recommended for adventurous listeners.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson