Strung is a nine-piece ensemble put together in Amsterdam by violinist Jon Rose and drummer Steve Heather in July 2000 specifically for this recording. The concept: a group of string players of all kinds, real or virtual, traditional or invented. Alongside "regular" players like violinist Anna McMichel and cellist Alex Waterman are musicians who use electronics (Allison Isadora), mutating home-made instruments (Rose, Mary Oliver), and samples of strings (Cor Fuhler with turntables, Richard Barrett with a sampler). Electric guitarist Andy Moor and Heather complete the lineup. The latter's drums constitute the only concession made to the concept, but he also performs on a "whipolin," described as a "disemboweled cello fitted with hurdy-gurdy type wheels of serrated, spiked and thonged varieties" -- so the honor is safe after all. The group plays free improvisations in smaller subgroups. The CD contains 24 short pieces, between 50 seconds and three minutes long, but it isn't clear whether they represent excerpts of longer performances or were devised as snapshots from the start. What is important is that each one is punchy and to the point. The range of styles goes from deconstructed rock sequences to soaring free-form solos. The fast-paced editing, apparent confusion hiding a very articulated proposition, and overall style of the music put Strung alongside Rose's other ambitious projects like The Violin Factory and Shopping.Live@Victo.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture