Annie Gosfield

Annie Gosfield: Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites

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Tzadik's third release of music by Annie Gosfield presents four challenging works that straddle the boundaries between music and noise, seriousness and humor, and classical order and avant-garde wildness. String sonorities dominate this disc, and Gosfield's use of these timbres pointedly brings up classical associations; but these are turned to unorthodox purposes, and the instruments are seldom played ordinario. The Flux String Quartet is assigned music of great volatility in Lightheaded and Heavyhearted, and extended techniques -- snap pizzicati, microtonal tunings, and col legno battuto -- are the norm. George Kentros' violin harmonics in Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites ethereally waft above taped sounds of shortwave radio transmissions and static from outer space. Similarly, cellist Joan Jeanrenaud is accompanied by a disorienting recording of metallic machine noises in The Harmony of the Body Machine. Only the short Mentryville provides a break from the unusual string effects, and Gosfield's performance on prepared piano seems quaint and almost conventional among so many frenzied sonic experiments. Yet in the welter of noises and special effects, Gosfield demonstrates her wry wit and sense of the absurd, which fans have come to appreciate from her two previous albums, Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires, and Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery.

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