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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bang On A Can All Stars, "Big Beautiful Dark and Scary"


Whatever minimalism is in music today, or whatever word you would rather use to describe the contemporary classical music of recurring periodicity, the Bang On A Can All Stars are at the vanguard of it, at least here in and around Manhattan. So when they come up with a special 2-CD set commemorating their continued success, namely Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (Canteloupe 21074) it is rather an occasion.

There are 89 minutes of music, pieces by Wolfe, Lang, Gordon, Ziporyn, Longstreth, Nancarrow, Andriessen, Moore--the founders and others. As is the nature of the Bang On A Can folks, they take chances and seek to do new things within the forms of contemporiety, so that not every composition is going to appeal to everybody. And for me some seemed just a hair on the crude side, others were interesting, still others I found quite beautiful and moving. There are pieces that show a kind of hard rock insistency, others that go off into space in exploratory ways and yet others that have a more lyrically expressive side.

So this is an occasion where in marking it BOAC shows they do not intend to drift into a complacent stance. They aim to innovate and they succeed, most of the time.

So if you want to be in a conceptual space where things are moving along, morphing, generating the excitement of the new, this set is one place you want to dwell within.

So do not miss out on the future. Here is part of it.

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