Leading contemporary music ensemble Apartment House perform a new piece developing out of James Saunders's long-term modular project '#unassigned'; the new piece, "assigned #15" creates a mesmeric, dense, jungle-like soundworld across its 45 minutes duration.
Label: Another Timbre
Released in: UK
"James Saunders is another well-established member of the Another Timbre family, his previous release on the label having been 2012's Divisions That Could Be Autonomous But That Comprise the Whole. Unlike that album, which consisted of six shorter tracks, assigned #15 just features the 45-minute title composition performed by Apartment House with Saunders himself on Dictaphones and shortwave radio.
This album's title refers back to Saunders' "#[unassigned]" series which he created between 2000 and 2009; they were short fragments for single instruments that could be played and combined in any order to construct a longer modular composition. So, the album of them, #[unassigned] (Confront, 2007) consisted of 131 short tracks lasting about one minute each, 66 for solo cello on one disc and 65 for solo clarinet on another, which the listener was encouraged to sequence using random play, or even to play both discs simultaneously to create a duo. Saunders preferred some of the versions of "#[unassigned]" which he recorded, and these he formalised in his "assigned" series, of which "assigned #15" is an example written for Apartment House, and recorded by them and Saunders on April 16th 2015 at St. Paul's Hall, Huddersfield.
Heard as a piece played by the seven musicians, it seems unlikely one would suspect the modular roots of this composition. Where random playing a series of one-minute recorded modules can lead to clunky jump-cuts between modules, with "assigned #15" that is never the case and it hangs together well, sounding as if it was conceived in its entirety not a chunk at a time. For that, credit is due to Saunders for selecting compatible component parts and integrating them together well, and to Apartment House for their smooth performance of it. The ensemble creates a highly satisfying soundscape that is broad, deep and rich in detail. The piece is engrossing for its full duration and, no many how many times it is heard, it keeps on giving."-John Eyles, All About Jazz
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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at88
Squidco Product Code: 21042
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at St. Paul's Hall in Huddersfield, United Kingdom, on April 16th, 2015 by Simon Reynell.
Nancy Ruffer -flutes
James Saunders-dictaphones, radio
Kerry Yong-chamber organ
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01. Assigned #15 45:10