Matt Turner

Matt Turner: Patina

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Subtitled "Cello Improvisations," these 14 solo forays by cellist Matt Turner are as unusual as they are eerily familiar. The cellist, who has shown considerable technical skills on other recordings, plays it alone here -- a risky proposition to be sure, but one that amply rewards the faithful listener. Turner, of course, is a masterful performer, extraordinarily versatile, and tuneful and sophisticated. Here, he performs solo, with the assistance of John Gibson, who manipulates the sounds of the cello through his software. Somehow, each track has its extraordinary moments, with Turner's straight cello filtered through the glasses of Gibson's warped machinations. There are varieties of structure, mangled tones, and disjointed stuttering sounds that lead to state-of-the-art combinations of distorted rumblings. Melody is, of course, out of the question, but harmonic logic is not, nor is consummate artistry, something with which this recording is perfectly comfortable. As a result, Turner impresses with his abilities, and the overall collective results are rarely less than superb. The software filters the cello so that at times it clicks and clacks, barely resembling the original source, while its unadulterated purity sometimes seeps through. Ultimately, what makes this so compelling is its new take on something seemingly familiar. The songs are freely improvised, but those familiar with the traditional cello will be surprised by the diversity of sound, the way in which the cello is transformed into something at once wondrous and perverse.

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