The NewBand

Play Microtonal Works, Vol. 2

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Newband emerged from the avant-garde of the 1970s and its daring explorations have helped fuel a movement devoted to new sonic possibilities. Microtonal works are a central part of the band's repertoire and each of the pieces on this CD represents aspects of several unconventional tuning systems. Harry Partch's haunting Daphne of the Dunes employs a plethora of invented instruments, most of them built by the composer. To achieve his extraordinary timbral palette, Partch used scales based on just intonation. The variation of pitches opens up a fantastic array of intervals, making even-tempered scales seem bland in comparison. James Pugliese's Freeze derives its sliding alto flute tones and heterophony from Native American singing, though without attempting to directly mimic that style. Dean Drummond's Different Drums for Different Strokes explores contrasts between electronic and acoustic drums, and the merging of sonorities extends the percussion's coloristic range in fascinating ways. Mathew Rosenblum's eclectic Circadian Rhythms crosses over tonal and stylistic boundaries to a precarious middle ground, where convention and the unorthodox uneasily coexist. The vibraphone-like Zoomoozophone is featured in Thelonious Monk's 'Round Midnight, though it is miked too closely, resulting in an unpleasant clanging blur. Otherwise, the disc's sound quality is superb.

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