Various Artists

Eight Times Falling

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Subsidized by Electro-acoustic Music in Sweden (EMS), Eight Times Falling presents works by eight 2000 graduates of its graduate-studies program. This is the new generation of Swedish electro-acoustic composers. Fresh out of their academic studies, some of them have a surprisingly singular voice that resisted the sometimes rigid teaching of such institutions. Take, for example, Johannes Bergmark's "Saw Octet," by far the most original piece here. The singing saw remains an instrument shrouded in mysticism, even esotericism. Bergmark has worked with American instrument builder Hal Rammel and his piece illustrates the flexibility and poetry inherent to his mentor's playing and the instrument on display. Jan Liljekvist's "The Arkham Quartet" provides another highlight. In five short sections, he mimics and/or mocks classical music, snapping crude electro-acoustic masks to clichéd orchestral gestures. Daniel T. Eideholm's "Voice of Eye" may be less original in form, but it is very well done, flowing and swirling nicely. Lennart Westman's sound text piece, "Sweden," makes powerful comments on its namesake's social politics. "Fall" by Paul Savage is the only other piece to use "real" performers in conjunction with electronics. The multi-tracked vocals of Sara Jungberg and saxophones of Martin Küchen bring an interesting change of palette in the context of this album, but the piece remains surprisingly uninvolving. Bo Halén, Niklas Peterson, and Mikael Konttinen are the other composers whose works are represented here. Eight Times Falling makes an uneven album, but it is worth seeking out, if only for Bergmark's piece.