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McLean, Barton: Soundworlds (Innova)

Mentored by Henry Cowell and Iannis Xenakis, Barton McLean's music respects no boundaries between acoustic and electronics, creating a fascinating and diverse set of compositions.

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product information:

UPC: 726708623425

Label: Innova
Catalog ID: 234
Squidco Product Code: 13505

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray


Barton McLean-piano,Petersburgh Electrophilharmonica, keyboards, computer, "Composers' Playpen" software, soprano recorder, clariflute

Linda Green-flutes

E.Michael Richards-charinet

Barbara DeChario-harp

Keith Notrab-percussion

Priscilla McLean-voice, violin

Paniaotis-voice, audio processing with Expanded Instrument System.

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track listing:

1. Wonder 5:32

2. Attainment 4:26

3. Tranquility 4:32

4. Ritual of the Dawn 15:36

5. Demons of the Night 6:48

6. Magic at Xanadu 8:53

7. Ice Canyons 8:24

8. Rainforest Images II 20:04

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Compositional Forms
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Electroacoustic Composition

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"Like his mentor, the maverick iconoclast Henry Cowell, Barton McLean has traveled the whole world of music, expanding his sonic palette and aural imagery while racking up the miles. Like his other main teacher, architect and electronic pioneer Iannis Xenakis, McLean respects no boundaries between acoustic and electronic musicmaking; he is at home with a piano as with developing new software instruments (such as the Composer's Playpen).

With this diverse pedigree McLean is uniquely qualified to straddle the worlds of technology and wilderness. From the uncannily precise performance of the Petersburgh Electrophilharmonia (they are a synthetic ensemble after all) to the field recording of the Musician Wren, McLean's music integrates a large vision of nature in her manner of operation.

The album begins with the "Concerto: States of Being," for piano and electronic sounds. It is a virtuosic tour de force in which the 'ensemble' follows the soloist rather than the other way around-a nearly impossible feat in the 'real' concerto world.

Stark contrast is a constant feature of this album as the next offering, "Ritual of the Dawn" illustrates. Flutes, clarinet, harp, percussion and piano combine in a seamless, evocative world where pulsative rhythmic ideas combine with dynamic outbursts, producing what Debussy might have created had he lived in the late 20th century.

"Demons of the Night" bring us back to the realm of symphonic terror and leads us into McLean's most current concerns. "Magic at Xanadu" and "Ice Canyons" represent the latest explorations of McLean's venture into MAX/MSP software creation. They are classically balanced, mature works generated live in actual performances during his 2008 and 2010 tours with his McLean Mix duo (along with his wife Priscilla).

The final work, "Rainforest Images II," is described by McLean as his most sophisticated work in any genre. Being a hybrid of studio composition and live performance with voices, experimental woodwinds, and keyboards using as sources rainforest sounds recorded on three continents, all assembled in McLean's studio, "Rainforest Images II" is all-embracing in its sonic breadth, emotional scope, and performance versatility. And the mystical ending is to make one weep, with voices trailing against the evocative drone, accompanied by the exquisite Musician Wren, recorded in the Amazon jungle."-Innova

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