A retrospective work containing four conceptual pieces composed and performed between 1981 and 1997, A Matter of Scale and Other Pieces is a minimalist trip through musician Richard Lerman's often jarring world of sound. Each piece is focused around a single concept, like a prism, which guides the aesthetics of the respective works. Lerman's work on the collection is often based on ideas of spatial performance: where and how the pieces are presented. For example, the title track was performed at the Houston AstroDome in Texas, with musicians standing at specified spots on the baseball field (first base, second base), with Lerman conducting the performance from the pitcher's mound. The disc-opening "Entrance Music" uses tape loops (as does the title track, for that matter) to feed sound back into the performance space. All of the pieces are performed almost exclusively on homemade instruments (some reminiscent of composer/avant-garde banjo player Eugene Chadbourne) including a butane torch (used on "Changing States 6") and what Lerman calls a "plinky," a small device made out of coil and brass discs (instructions for making one are included in the disc's liner notes). The sound throughout is evocative of a bowed piece of metal wire, simultaneously grating and beautiful.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow