Surface Images sounds exactly that way in its electronic score. It is a 40-"instrument" blanket of articulated repetitions that play against a challenging piano part played with great facility here by Vicky Chow. This is music that through gradually changing repetitions gives us a sort of trance effect, as classical minimalism tends to do.
The piece begins with rapid figurations that repeat and evolve at a steady pace for the first 20 minutes, then increase in speed for another 10 minutes, entering into ultra-rapid figurations 30 minutes into the work. The music slows again in steps over the last part of the piece, leaving the listener in the end with a less dense, more introspective wash of sound. Then it is gone.
Vicky Chow literally has her hands full executing the continuous part and she responds with a marvelous performance that is precisely what it should be--mesmerising and rhythmically precise but also expressive.
Those who love the total, tonal trance environment of early instrumental Reich, Riley and such will find this a new wrinkle on "traditional" ground. It is pleasing and never banal, fairly dense and ever-shifting.
If minimalism leaves you flat you will not appreciate this, I suspect. All the rest of us have something quite appealing and intriguing to hear. Bravo to Ms. Chow. And bravo to Tristan Perich.
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