Two compositions by Power, each for solo instruments.
'mahrem bir eser | a private work' is for cello, performed by Mariel Roberts. It consists largely of bowed notes in the lower range, dark and grainy, single notes of near identical pitch but varying durations separated by brief silences. The dynamics, on both this and the subsequent piece, are louder than one might expect from the Wandelweiser imprint; despite the evenness of the approach there's a subtle hint of aggressiveness, or at least insistence, especially when a given stroke adds a secondary, growling attack. There's another somewhat hidden agenda in play. Per Power's notes from his bandcamp page, "The cellist has access to a max patch (created by Gleb Kanasevich) which, activated by a foot pedal, obscures their sound from the listener, giving them a private space in which to work on parts of the music they choose by themselves." This action might be occurring in a vaguer manner earlier, but about nine minutes in there's a sudden, enormous up-swelling of electronic sound that envelops and drowns the cello for a minute or two. It subsides just as quickly and we return more or less to the earlier music, though it's slightly more subdued and soon changes to a higher pitch. This cycle repeats several times over the work's 28+ minutes, imparting an intriguing balance between the sense of stasis and that of anticipation. After the second surge, the music ranges from a rising tone to short, high scrapes; there's actually much more variation that is apparent on first blush. An interesting work, sometimes frustrating, sometimes ingratiating, always repaying repeated listens with new facets.
'swathe' is written for solo clarinet, here played by Kanasevich. In a sense, it's similar to the prior work in that there are long held tones, forcefully played (one might even say stridently), but the pitches shift a small amount from the beginning-more so as the piece progresses-and, more crucially, there are none of the software-induced "interruptions". Given the general intensity of attack, one marvels at Kanasevich's ability not to split notes. Something about the circumscribed area of the work's structure reminds me of Anthony Braxton's late 70s saxophone improvisations where a single approach was explored in depth, though here there's a tension between that thought and a kind of limited haze around the central attack, the range of exploration extremely narrowed. While this perhaps makes for a more consistent composition than the prior one, it lacks the odd drama that makes the cello work all the more compelling. Still and all, an intriguing piece.
Good work, making me eager to hear more from Mr. Power.
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