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Applebaum, Mark: Asylum (Innova)


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product information:

UPC: 726708666620

Label: Innova
Catalog ID: Innova 666
Squidco Product Code: 7061

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2006
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray


Jaan Bossier-conductor

Mark Applebaum-mouseketier, sound sculpture solo, live electronics

Magnus Andersson-guitar

Harmida Piano Trio

Skin & Bones

exxj--Ensemble XX

Peter Burwikoconductor

Berndt Thurner-percussion solo

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track listing:

1. The Blue Cloak 21:52

2. DNA 7:49

3. Landscape 6:08

4. Go, Dog. Go! 16:39


5. Incubation 4:20

6. Inventory 3:23

7. Echolalia 4:19

8. Insight & Interjections 4:57

9. Cadenza & Relapse 3:11

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Organized Sound and Sample Based Music
Percussion & Drums
December 2006
Electroacoustic Composition

descriptions, reviews, &c.

Bay Area composer Applebaum has been busily releasing a series of excellent CDs in the 2000s, and Asylum is his 9th on Innova (check his excellent releases on Tzadik as well). This releases presents four short works, and the 5-part Asylum for nonet and percussion soloist.

A jazz pianist and a builder of junkyard electro-acoustic instruments as well as a former composition pupil of Brian Ferneyhough, Mark Applebaum brings out the carnival beneath complexity's surfaces. The excellent opening track, The Blue Cloak, demonstrates precisely this bi-polarity. It was inspired by Breughel's 'teaming figure' painting Netherlandish Proverbs, a typical partly comic, partly disturbing tableaux of characters who illustrate in their bizarre daily rituals a total of 100 proverbs and sayings. The music, led by a substantial partly-improvised part for Applebaum's found object sound sculpture the 'mouseketier', scurries and scatters itself about the room, sounding just like the Tom and Jerry score Ferneyhough himself may yet write. A serious-comic schizophrenia animates other works on this CD. DNA explores the notion of 'neuromuscular economy', whereby the virtuosity of a densely notated guitar solo is undermined as essentially the same four lines of music are looped round and round, detuning as they go. The percussion duet Go, Dog. Go! follows an uexpected route to rich rhythmic complexity, using rock and pop grooves (Led Zeppelin, James Brown, the Spice Girls) played at their original speeds, but stripped of all timbre, pitch and lyrics. It takes a keen ear to hear most of these for what they are, but the rhythmic diversity that results quashes any expectation of 4/4 monotony. The record's title work turns such contradictory characteristics to more serious intent. It is scored for instrumental nonet and a theatrical percussion soloist, who is the subject of 22 mental disorders that play out in the piece's 5 movements, the surrounding ensemble functioning periodically as the superego or a council of elders sitting in judgement. As with the rest of the CD, it is musically convincing, but for such a theatrical work (in the third movement, for example, the percussionist enacts a detailed series of Dadaist rituals that culminate in the bursting of a ballon in which is concealed the triangle beater to be used to begin the fourth movement) it is of course not possible to gauge fully the work's effect. However, with the aid of sleevenotes, enough of the assorted manias comes through; overall this is another fine record from a consistently interesting composer."-Tim Rutherford-Johnson, Johnson's Rambler

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