William Price: Rush Hour (Ablaze Records, 2017)

February 19, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

William Price: Rush Hour

Mind-altering electro-acoustic works from Birmingham composer William Price, inspired by abstract art, literature, and everyday scenarios. Lots of granular processing and manipulation of voices and instruments, transforming the sounds entirely; dipping them in acid, making them sharper and jagged, making them wet and bubbly. His usage of voices, particularly in “2 Days in the Tank” (which has a particularly liquid-like feel, and is based on manipulations of the title of Charles Bukowski’s The Drunk Tank Judge) and the especially otherworldly “Spline”, are incredibly haunting, blurring and distorting the lines between the familiar and unfamiliar. Brief pieces are alternated with longer, more ambitious ones, and two of them focus on non-electronic instruments. “Sans Titre V” is a lengthy piece for amplified cello, which constnatly shifts between more graceful, melodic sections, abrasive interjections, and silence, with a chilly glow of reverb over everything. “Rush Hour” is a three-movement piece featuring tenor saxophone, which interacts with Price’s electro-acoustics. At times they alter the saxophone, and at one point (during the first movement) they end up forming a fast, jazzy rhythm perfect for zipping along the highways. The short piece “WOOSH” is apparently based on notes originally played by a toy saxophone, recorded using ProTools and manipulated using granular synthesis software. Price’s sound design is consistently impressive, and the compositions are all entertaining as well as thought-provoking.

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