Portugal's Osso Exotico has a history of experimentation with ancient, traditional, and modern musical idioms. In past recordings, project principals Patricia Machas and brothers David and Andre Maranha have employed unconventional treatments (xylophone, bass, mandolin, guitar, and piano are frequently bowed; magnetic tape is "hand read") and such invented instruments as the "maranhophone." CHURCH ORGAN WORKS is not only the first Osso Exotico album not to bear a numerical title but also the first to focus on a single instrument--the mighty, magisterial pipe organ.
CHURCH ORGAN WORKS was recorded in separate sessions at two Lisboa churches, with the three musicians trading off or playing in company as they explored the organ's formidable tonal range. Osso Exotico's survey encompasses both the crashing chords and cascading arpeggios one immediately associates with cathedral music and a sensitive reading of postmodern minimalism. It's surprising that such a powerful instrument can inhabit the elliptical acoustic space favored by Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff or trace the melodic involutions of Terry Riley. The continuum with American minimalism extends to "Rodape Descartavel," where feathery organ backdrops a soft recitation in fine Robert Ashley fashion, and to the pervading vertical overtones of La Monte Young's Dream House.