Josh Modney – “Engage” (New Focus. 2018)

“Engage” is the new release of “New Focus Recordings”. Album was recorded by violinist, composer and improviser Josh Modney, electronics virtuoso Sam Pluta, pianist Eric Wubbels and soprano Kate Soper. Josh Modney is an interesting and creative composer and improviser. His music has rich, engaging and modern musical language, difficult structure and polyphonic musical pattern. Josh Modney has his own and specific sound, original playing and composing techniques and inventive musical decisions. Though his music is based on the main principes of contemporary academical music and academic avant-garde, there’s still is heard many elements and intonations of avant-garde jazz and free improvisations. The sound varies between academical, modern and experimental sound to natural, organic, effective and bright free improvisation. Violinist masterfully fuses together all these absolutely different musical language elements. As a result, his music is filled with effective and fascinating sound experiments, brave, drastic and provocative instrumentation, creative and extraordinary decisions and spontaneous, free and wild improvisations. Josh Modney also has a precise and virtuosic playing technique – he plays especially cordially, sensibly and emotionally, but also pays the highest attention to the best quality of sound and musical material. Josh Modney is the member of famous contemporary music ensembles “Wet Ink Ensemble”, “ICE”, “Mivos Quartet”, he also collaborates with dozens of famous and talented composers, musicians and improvisers.

“Engage” is filled with engaging, bright and experimental musical decisions. The music is condensed by many different pieces and styles. The main elements of contemporary academical music and free improvisations are gently and organically twisted together. The composer demonstrates his wide abilities of improvising and tries to expand the technical abilities of violin. He experiments in various fields and sections of musical language – all kinds of extended and innovative playing techniques are used here. Traditional and experimental ways of playing are twisted together in effective, modern and extraordinary way. That produces enormously huge variety of unusual timbres, strange noises and weird sounds. Wide abilities of violin are showed here – musician masterfully and creatively tries out all kinds of playing techniques, expressions, styles and other elements of musical language. Dramatic and shrieky tunes, silent and abstract episodes, sudden abruptions, bright and expressive culminartions and passionate, remarkable, dizzy and sparkling passages – all these elements form the main part of Josh Modney compositions. Especially rich, modern and innovative musical language, difficult musical pattern, effective and colorful polyphony and all kinds of rhythms and expressions, which are silmunateously fused together also contain the basics of his improvisations. The exceptional and bright sound is created by using many different musical language elements, but there’s the most important reason, which effects the most whole sound of the album. It’s a marvelous synthesis between contrasting and conceptual music styles and expressions. Composer shows his original and specific composing technique, which is based on fusion of various music styles. Free improvisation, avant-garde jazz, the famous themes from very well-known jazz standarts are masterfully combined together with contemporary academcial music, the newest techniques of electronics, main elements of expressionism, modernism, impressionism and post-impressionism. The excerpts, modifications and variations of the compositions written by J. S. Bach or other famous composers also are effectively and brightly integrated in common musical pattern. The wide and rich instrumentation, dramatic and contrasting violin melodies are gently fused together with other instruments. Soprano melodies are filled with sound experiments, expressive and extraordinary solos, vivacious, flowing and bright episodes or free improvisations. Recitals, words or other spoken elements, unusual timbres, weird sounds and noises also are heard very frequently in some compositions. The acoustics are fused with electronics in some compositions. Glitch, drone, sonic system experiments, bright and evocative timbres, special effects, sound modifications and alterations, computer devices sounds and other new playing techniques of electronics are used here. It brings to the compositions bright, original and modern sound. Piano melodies are especially emotional, free and bright. It’s filled with dynamic, expressive, intensive and passionate solos, wild fast passages, flowing and splendid roulades, sharp, aggressive and heavy chords, colorful timbres and evocative musical decisions. Piano music is based on free structure and form – there’s many space for unpredictable musical decisions, surprises and sudden stylistic changes. The masterful synthesis between acoustics and electronics, unique and specific sound, individual and original playing and composing style – all these elements make the highest effort to splendid, bright, innovative and intensive sound.

3 thoughts on “Josh Modney – “Engage” (New Focus. 2018)”

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