Dedication is an apt title for a CD full of pieces by a myriad of composers dedicated to the Prism Quartet for their 20th anniversary in 2004. I was surprised as punch that they’ve been around since 1984. That’s a long-ass time–longer than George Orwell’s nervous system if you laid it all out end to end! Mostly inhabiting the one to three-minute range, these songs range all over the musical feed lot. From lightweight, bouncy and spiffy lines to homely, held tones that segue on a train-flattened quarter into a briar-filled sour patch. From perky and melodic to shrill foghorn blasts to lilting cartoon morning music, the Prism Quartet manhandles it all like the seasoned pros they are.
What with its quiet drones and super low-key atmosphere, my favorite track is, predictably enough, Matthew Levy’s “Meditations,” Too bad it’s only a couple of minutes long. Another good one is Frank Oteri’s “Seeming Partial,” which is the perfect soundtrack for some poor sap whose wife just dumped him right after he lost his job and got diagnosed with a brain tumor. This CD comes complete with a thick-ass booklet featuring notes on all of the pieces and composers. Regarding the front cover design, four out of five gangster rappers surveyed commented, “Aw, hail naw! That photo look dope as f%$# with they faces chopped off like that and re-pasted at the bottom.” I find myself very much in agreement. Who knows what the Prism Quartet has in store for their 30th anniversary coming up in 2014? Hopefully, a 74-minute rendition of James Tenney’s “Saxony.”
Text ©2011 Arcane Candy