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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Grant Cutler, Self Portrait

Grant Cutler comes our way with Self Portrait (Innova 961), an eight-part ambient soundscape for a chamber ensemble of synth, organ, piano, two cellos, violin, saxophone and vocalist. The production by Grant Cutler and Chris Campbell is spacious and dreamy, so much so that you have to listen for a while to fully grasp the instrumental combinations. This is not electro-acoustic music per se yet the music has an enhanced feel that puts it into soundscape territory. Grant Cutler and Chris Campbell made another memorable soundscapery a while back with their Schooldays Over, which I liked quite a bit and posted about on these pages when it was first released. Type their names in the search box above to see that review.

Self Portrait brings to us a sustained atmosphere of floating aetherial tonality. The mood is both introspective and elated. It reminds me slightly of Terry Riley's mid-later work, but not the Minimalist strain so much as some of his movie music. Floating choral-color sound blocks drift by like gossamer clouds on a moderately brisk breeze.

This is music that can best be heard rather than described. And so I post this as a place marker, to recommend that you hear the sounds and sequences so nicely mapped out and executed by Grant Cutler and colleagues.

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