Amy Denio

Tattoo (Pat Graney Dance Company, Soundtrack Series No. 1)

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This soundtrack by Amy Denio, one of the more ubiquitous talents on the downtown New York scene, will shock and surprise those fans of her previously released music. While it's true that this may be due to the fact that it was composed for a choreographed work, it is nonetheless a Denio composition encompassing the construction noise outside her studio, her voice, accordion, guitar, bass, water slapping, dancers' footsteps, and field recordings (of found sound). Each of the work's 22 segments showcases a different element and combines -- often, but not always -- the sounds which appeared in the previous segments. Denio plays the role of composer here just as soulfully as she performs her own work. And while she cheats a little by borrowing a piece from the Danubians -- one of her bands -- for a cue, it fits perfectly. This is ambient music, not in the sense that it inhabits spaces to change their ambience, but it is music that actually is created by arranging and enhancing the inherent sounds of spaces in order to mark them for something -- like a tattoo. A tattoo is much like the work of dancing itself: Steps and moves are arranged within and upon the physical limitations of a defined space, in order to expand and adorn them. And of course, dance is dance because of the arrangement of sound coming from a particular place. In this case, that place, that vast terrain, is a body and a mind: Amy Denio.

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