John Potter

Ambrose Field: Being Dufay

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British composer Ambrose Field is primarily known for his work in electronic music, much of it using the sounds of the natural world and of industrial and post-industrial society to create gritty and audacious musique concrète soundscapes. On this album, he takes fragments of vocal music by the great fifteenth century Flemish composer Guillaume Dufay and weaves them into allusive electronic landscapes of considerable subtlety. The non-vocal sounds are processed to the point that their source material is rarely readily apparent, but the emotional content of each of the seven selections is clear. Field uses the vocal fragments relatively straightforwardly, so while they are fully integrated into the electronic textures, they remain fully distinct. The sound is superficially reminiscent of new age music, and it's easy to see how the album could be strongly appealing to new age enthusiasts, but it has enough complexity and sophistication to be attractive to a broader audience of fans of new music. Tenor John Potter, formerly a member of the Hilliard Ensemble, sings the Dufay with unmannered and earthy directness, and his intent and focused performance are huge factors in the album's appeal. The sound of the ECM release, produced by Manfred Eicher, is characteristically immaculate, with outstanding depth and presence.

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