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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Ashley Bathgate, 8-Track, Minimalist Goodies for Cello(s)


When sometimes I feel like I am tired of Minimalism something good comes along and I pay attention and enjoy it all again. That is so with today's cello ensemble disk performed so very nicely by Ashley Bathgate overdubbing all parts. The album is entitled 8 -Track (New Focus Recordings, BandCamp) .

Ashley is a talented and dedicated cellist, a formidable artistic force for this sort of music, really mature and lively as much as beautiful in sound, a ravishing cello voice carefully creating multiple cello parts for some stunning  Minimalist works.  Each work follows the game plan of Steve Reich's Counterpoint series--that is, the performer plays a live part on top of  seven tracks previously recorded on the same instrument.

All the works we hear so deftly constructed on this unique album were written in this millennium in the Counterpoint plan and come alive in the doing. So we get the Steve Reich gem "Cello Counterpoint" (2013) that gives us the brilliant passagework juxtaposed with open and then figured long notes for a happy midperiod  musical romp fully worthy of the Reich name. Each composer in her or his very own way furthers our appetite for such explorations and productive emanations, so we hear in succession Fjola Evans, Emily Cooley, and two gems by Alex Weiser. Highly recommended.

Give it a listen on the BandCamp stream and if inclined place an order there (preorder if you read this in early summer of 2023): 

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