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    Virgil Moorefield – Things You Must Do to Get to Heaven

    Virgil Moorefield - Things You Must Do to Get to Heaven

    Virgil Moorefield is a composer, intermedia artist, author and avant-garde / rock drummer who studied at Princeton, Columbia and Juillard, and is currently an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has been working since the early 1980s, and in addition to composing his own pieces, he has played with the likes of Glenn Branca, Damage, Bill Laswell, Elliott Sharp, Swans and many others.

    Things You Must Do to Get to Heaven is one long avant-garde classical piece comprised of the first four tracks on this CD. In part one, “Five on Six,” a lively exchange between bass clarinet, cello, drums, percussion, vibraphone and violin challenges a dissonant two-note blast from a Harry Partch-like microtonal electric guitar to a duel. Ultimately, the guitar gets the last word in edgewise. “Crosstalk” dredges up a conversation between a piano, cello and violin that gets all stark and woozy—only to be interrupted by a series of ecstatically held tones.

    “Eightball in the Corner Wormhole” presents a prickly and sprightly piece for guitar, clarinet, piano and drums—all close-microphoned and in your face. The final section, “Sixteen Sesterces,” combines elements of the previous three tracks for quite a powerful coda. In it, a drunken leaf gets caught in a causuality loop and repeatedly descends from a rain-soaked tree—only to crash land inside an insistent, booming rhythm river that gets rudely interrupted by numerous sawing, pounding crescendo boulders, followed by a moment of cool pool quietude. The piece closes with a repetition and recombination of elements from the first three tracks.

    A comprovisational percussion workout called “Subliminal” chimes in with three minutes worth of twinkling chimes, brushed drum heads, quiet booming bass drums and droning gongs. “Arrival of the Crows” ends the whole program with layers of artificially stretched piano sounds that form shrill, dark drones and a sustained suspenseful atmosphere that soldiers on into a field of Harry Partch-like microtonal chamber rock. The piece briefly returns to droneland just before a screeching, squeaking climax shuts down the CD. And so ends the best avant-garde classical music CD I’ve heard in quite some time.

    Label: Innova Catalog Number: 664 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 6 Total Time: 38:10 Country: United States Released: 2007 More: Answers, Discogs, Forced Exposure, Last.FM,
    Official, Napster, Vimeo

    Text ©2009 Arcane Candy

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