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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ken Field, Sensorium: Music for Dance & Film

Ken Field began composing music in the late '80s for the animated films of his wife, the late Karen Aqua. Sometime later New York based choreographer-dancers Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer began commissioning Field to write for their troupe Bridgman/Packer Dance. Ken Field's new disk presents the latest work he's done in both contexts. Sensorium: Music for Dance & Film (Innova 836) gives us three numbers from his film work and 11 for dance, all relatively short pieces lasting from just a minute to over eight minutes.

As Field describes in the liner notes, there was a beginning to these projects of layered saxes, flutes and percussion, then the gradual incorporation of electronics, electronic effects and other instruments. By the time we get to these later works, anything goes along these lines. There are pieces just for percussion, others for various combinations of instruments and electronics. The music can be in a minimalist vein sometimes, other times jazz and rock influences are there, still other times it's music, pure and simple. with no particular stylistic-camp affiliation.

The sheer variety of what comes keeps the listener interested. There are works that dazzle in their musicality, a few have more of the incidental feel, and that's only natural, given the contexts in which the music functioned.

If it matters to you, this is not high-modernist height-scaling. It's more pomo anything-goes music. And for all that it makes for a very good listen.

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