Thu, Apr 03, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Classical CD reviews

Recess, by Skrillex; Fourteen, by Dan Weiss.

By Jon Caramanica and Ben Ratliff  /  NY Times News Service

The flow of these parts isn’t easy to predict, but the first of them, the longest, uses a clear strategy: a constant buildup of instrumental parts, as well as intensity. A solo-piano introduction leads to one of Weiss’ detailed drum rhythms: He hits a ride cymbal softly at regular intervals, but everything around it arrives in sliding puzzle patterns. Female voices come into the picture, splitting pleasant but abstruse melodies into short-syllable unisons and long vowel tones. (They are Judith Berkson, Maria Neckam and Lana Cencic, all distinctive singers, but here I can’t tell them apart.) Horn lines rise and intertwine with the voices, starting to improvise. A harp appears. An overdriven electric guitar enters at the six-minute mark, gnashing and wailing; at the very end, an organ piles on.

There’s one possible reference point here: Henry Threadgill in the 1990s, with his complex, organically growing structures over a groove. Otherwise, this is a piece of music — and an album — that seems built only of one composer’s deep, discrete and bravely rendered interests.

— Ben Ratliff, NY Times News Service

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