Katherine Young|Chris Mercer|Charmaine Lee|Sam Pluta|Aaron Cassidy – “Phantom Images” (Huddersfield Contemporary Records, 2018)

Phantom Images

“Phantom Images” is the newest release of “Huddersfield Contemporary Records”. Album is formed from four compositions by four different contemporary academical music composers – it’s Katherine Young, Chris Mercey, Charmaine Lee and Aaron Cassidy. All these composers have original composing style and modern playing manner. Their composing style is more or less based on synthesis between acoustics and electronics. Innovative and colorful ways of playing, experimental playing techniques, special effects and other similar instrumentation elements of acoustic instruments form the main part of their compositions. All these elements are fused together with electronics – glitch, modified sounds, timbres, computer devices music, glitch, drone, recording machines and other electronic music elements are used here. The music reflects the main tendencies of contemporary academical music and academic avant-garde – it reveals the synthesis between acoustics and electronics, which is getting more and more popular, free form, special effects, the search of innovative playing techniques and experimental ways of playing. The form of compositions is free and not strictly based – it’s formed by various elements of classical forms and free improvisations. Dynamic rhythmic, stylistic turns between post-romantism, expressionism, post-impressionism, modernism and post-modernism, minimalism, experimental music, sonoristic and concrete music, academic avant-garde and electronics – all these elements aare organically joined together in music of these four talented composers. Their music has interesting, expressive, modern and original sound.

“Phantom Images” has remarkable and expressive sound. The first composition by Katherine Young “For Daphne and Delia II” is full of interesting msuical decisions and has colorful and modern musical language. Polyphonic pattern is based on individual melodies by each instrument. Composer tries out to expand the main and traditional technical abilities of each instrument. The search of unusual and strange timbres is the most important in her compositions. This compositions is filled with expressive and vivacious solos which composer puts against drmatic, sharp, aggressive, turbulent and dark episodes. Slow and silent, lyric and sorrow or very bright, vivid, joyful and playful – all the different moods, expressions and episodes are fused together in one place. Katherine Young masterfully switches between different musical expressions, playing techniques, rhythms, chords, scales and other musical language elements. The sudden stylistic twists are based on synthesis between modernism, repetitive melodic and rhtyhic intonations, academic avant-garde, experimental music, sonoristic experiments and poast-expressionism. The music is especially expressive, has bright, colorful and contrasting sound. Chris Mercey “Phantom Images” is written for 48 instruments, which are modified by computer. Composer by himself controles all the instruments and creates remarkable and impressive sound. The sound modifications, strange timbres, unusual alterations, different scales, harmonies and chords – all these elements and special effects are used together in one place. The simple acoustic instruments are modified by using innovative computer programs and sounds. Composer likes to experiment in all sections of musical language – he searches for new and unusual timbres, original sounds, doesn’t avoid to use sonoristic and concrete music elements and integrate them in musical pattern. Marvelous synthesis between acoustics and electronics, computer devices and special effects helps composer to create impressive, innovative and interesting sound. Music is filled with extravagant musical decisions, special effects, contrasts and differnet moods. Vivacious and expressive episodes are joined together with harsh, dark, lyric or peaceful episodes. This compositions is one of the most interesting composition of whole album. The third composition “quarks” by Charmaine Lee has many relations with free improvisation. This compositions was played and recorded along with famous improviser Sam Pluta. The synthesis between electronics. voice and acoustics creates organic, expressive and unusual sound. The music has subtle, silent, peaceful and soft sound, which is highly contrasting with vibrant and turbulent episodes. Organic synthesis between minimalism, concrete music, sonoristic music, sonic system experiments, various elements of electronic music and free improvisations make an interesting and original sound of this composition. The final composition “I, for example,…” is the first pure electronic music composition created by Aaron Cassidy. This music is totally based on electronics – composer masterfully tries out new and interesting ways of playing. Glitch, sound alterations, timbres modifications, drone, sonic system experiments, sonoristic and concrete music elements, field recordings, computer devices sounds, innovative musical experiments, special effects, colorful and strange timbres – all these elements contain the main part of this composition. The sound of this compsition is totaly based on synthesis between electronic and experimental music, but also has many relations with sonoristic and concrete music. Organic and masterful synthesis between different electronic elements, stlyistic waves, wide range of expressions, rhythms and playing techniques make effective and impressive sound. The compositions of this album are very different from each other – it has its pown style, character, playing techniques, pattern and musical language. All these compositions have effective, innovative and remarkable sound.

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