Formed in 1996, contemporary classical ensemble Eighth Blackbird “combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company.” Their album Filament was inspired by and a tribute to composer Phillip Glass. The first 19 minutes of the CD is taken up by Bryce Dessner’s “Murder Ballades,” a collection of seven traditional murder ballad-inspired tracks full of baroque chamber pop with elements of folk and blues. The proceedings range in mood from frolicking and galloping to erratic and pensive with occasional stiff acoustic punches.
Within the explosive chamber minimalism of Nico Muhly’s nine-minute “Doublespeak,” “fast music is offset by slow music reminiscent of the 1970s when classical music perfected obsessive repetition.” Son Lux’s two short pieces, “To Love” and “This is My Line,” offer up a bit of poofter minimal hover punctuated with acoustic jabs, ending with some purty singing and swirling strings. The centerpiece of the album is Phillip Glass’ “Two Pages” a 16-minute work apparently inspired by Terry Riley’s “In C” that relentlessly pounds a few notes into your head over and over until you finally stop feeling annoyed, stare straight ahead into space, see the bright light of infinity, and get with the program!
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