The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet shows all these qualities in abundance on their CD Rupa-khandha (Sono Luminus 92150). These are world premiere recordings of what the back cover describes as "the newest music for percussion ensemble, in the tradition of the great West Coast mavericks," and that rings true. The intro to the liner notes, if we have any doubts, spells-out who those composers would be: John Cage, Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, Terry Riley, James Tenney, Frank Zappa, William Kraft, Emil Richards and Steven Schick. A formidable list of pioneers, not all of whose careers of course were entirely synonymous with that region, but all of whom had important West Coast presences for at least part of the time. One could sum up a commonality by saying all had a fascination with aggregates which at least included percussion instruments, some unconventional, some invented, and pioneered the rule-breaking, all-the-world influenced music approaches we have come to embrace today.
And you get that influence evolved and continued further in the four pieces on the program--"Ritual Dances" by Eric Guinivan, "Rupa-khandha" by Sean Heim, Joseph Pereira's "Repousse," and Jeffrey Holmes' "Occasus."
I will not go into a blow-by-blow description of each work recorded here, partly because they flow together in such a way that they tend to work together for one very lasting impression, and secondly, it is music that is better served by hearing it.
The composers may be new names to you (as many were to me) but they each have a mastery over the percussion arsenal and write music that fits a West Coast ethos.
As many Sono Luminus releases, this one comes with a conventional two-channel CD and a multiple-option, surround sound 24-bit Blue Ray disk. I was unable to hear the multi channel version alas because I do not have Blue Ray capability, so I cannot comment on those mixes. It's the sort of multi-timbred music that will stand out in such a playback environment. The CD itself has excellent sound.
The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet has the concentrated dedication, skill, and beyond-ness feel to pull this program off with flair. The composers have given them much to work with and they sound great! Recommended.