Enter Lou Cohen, a veteran Boston-area-based composer who after a long period composing for conventional instruments from the '60s forward has devoted his exclusive attention after 1990 to electronic music. The 3-CD set simply titled Music (Pogus 21071-2) gives us a comprehensive look at his music from 2003 to the present. He has been prolific and the results show an original musical mind at work.
Like Xenakis before him he composes using Stochastic mathematical processes and also algorithms. Like Xenakis too the music does not sound especially mathematical, but perhaps it has given Cohen the conceptual means and impetus to create long-formed works that sprawl with grace and intelligence and seem especially continuous and logically unfolding compared to the sort of high-contrast, jab-and-run kind of electronic and otherwise high modern music one has heard over the years.
The more than three hours of music covered on the disks has a high sense of purpose and a dramatic impact that varies and cannot readily be summarized in this space. Some have an analogue sound quality, there is some use of organic as well as electronically generation sounds and a Promethean effect is achieved as often through noise pitch complexities as through more musically conventional tones.
All comes through as excellent noise and timbre poetry, complex and ever flowing, electronic wizardry of the best kind. Lou Cohen creates formidable, expressive, impressive essays in sound that are among the best such works being made today.
A major contribution!
Sadly, I just heard that Maestro Cohen passed away late last month after battling with pancreatic cancer. RIP Lou Cohen. Your music lives on for us to savor, now with a bittersweet regret.
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