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    Bryce Dessner + So Percussion – Music For Wood and Strings

    Bryce Dessner + So Percussion - Music For Wood and Strings

    Okay, first of all, on the one sheet for this Music For Wood and Strings CD provided by the label, Brassland, it says the piece was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, yet it premiered at Zankel Hall. What the heck? That is totally confusing. How dare you puzzle me like that! How dare you! Being an affluent elderly gentleman sporting a grey ponytail and corduroy jacket with elbow pads who owns five mansions, a private jet, eight cars and four yachts, I am totally entitled to have everything in the universe work out perfectly for me at all times, which includes understanding every word I read–especially on one sheets. I want my money back! I’d like to speak with your manager! I’m totally kidding. How charitable of Carnegie, actually, for donating this piece to Zankel. Or is Zankel part of Carnegie? The world–except for me–will always know!

    In the starring role of the expansive 36-minute Music For Wood and Strings sits an instrument called the chord stick created by the composer. Combining a hammered dulcimer with an electric guitar, the set of four chord sticks is occasionally backed up in the rhythm section by a bass drum and a woodblock, all as played by a small ensemble known as So Percussion. “So what?” you ask. “So Percussion!” I reiterate. “I’m so sure! The music of So Percussion is, like, so percussion! Oh, my God!” shrieked the Valley Girl standing nearby. Despite the group’s name, the performance on this non-“ladies’ compact” disc is definitely a little bit beyond so-so.

    Although the chordsticks are electric, they sound acoustic, as they were cleanly recorded at a modest volume. It’s quite easy to hear every note of every instrument; there’s no mud at all. Elegiac drones spool out by way of sawing violin bows, replaced by lightly tapping rhythms via  pencils and mallets, proffering a quasi-rock-like energy, which is not surprising considering the guitar-like nature of the equipment employed–even moreso with the presence of the aforementioned (So) percussion. So, I guess you could say, “Sticks and stones, I mean violin bows may strike these strings, but the music will never hurt you.” In fact, it may help soothe you during your Hellish daily commute to office cubicle purgatory. So there! Fans of Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham’s electric guitar symphonies should definitely take a dive headfirst into the pleasantly pounding Music For Wood and Strings; just take note that the latter is far more lightweight than the former two.

    Label: Brassland Catalog Number: HWY-045 Format: CD Packaging: Mini-LP double gatefold Tracks: 10 Total Time: 70:37 Country: United States Released: 2015 More: Bandcamp, Official, YouTube, YouTube

    Text ©2015 Arcane Candy

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