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Friday, March 6, 2015

Thomas Newman, Rick Cox, 35 Whirlpools Below Sound

The public notice of what is now called electroacoustic music is nowhere near as wide-spread than in the days when electronic music was a palpable force on the new music avant garde scene. Yet there is very good work being done if you look for it. An excellent example is 35 Whirlpools Below Sound (Cold Blue 0040), a collaborative effort between Thomas Newman and Rick Cox. (Type Cox's name into the search box above to see a review of another work of his.)

Rick is on prepared guitar, Xaphoon, cello and voice; Thomas plays a toy accordion, violin, piano and phase metals; Jeff Elmassian plays clarinet, and there are also field recordings of wind, leaves, water and cars.

All of these elements (and others, to my ears) combine in various stages of transformation for 19 very evocative soundscapes (utilizing 35 "whirlpools"). Many have a natural sort of ambiance, some less so, but altogether there is a sequence of sound events that makes very effective use of musical tone and noise to create vivid sound poetry.

There's nothing truly jarring in this series of whirlpools, so it invites you to drift along with its ever-varying architectonics and sound washes.

I found it fascinating and very worthwhile. You traverse diverse landscapes willingly and with satisfaction, and perhaps you attentively dream of other worlds as you listen.

Very nice, indeed.

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