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    Mark Applebaum – Asylum

    Mark Applebaum (born 1967) is a composer of solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic and electro-acoustic music, and a jazz pianist who also builds sound sculptures. He earned a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California, San Diego and is now the Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University. Asylum is a collection of nine tracks that translate mental illness into music. Clocking in at 22 minutes, the opener, “The Blue Cloak,” is a composed sprawler that sounds for all the world like a lengthy acoustic free improv workout, what with its never-ending layers of outbursts from clarinet, electronics, flute, mouseketier (one of Mark’s electro-acoustic sound sculptures), percussion, piano and violin. But, rest assured that it’s completely notated, as it offers up a detailed sonic tour of a wimmelbild painting (in which masses of small figures create one large scene) called the Netherlandish Proverbs (1559).

    “DNA” continues a similar approach and feeling with only a solo acoustic guitar that offers up a series of complex runs punctuated by jabbing single notes; followed in likewise manner by a Conlon Nancarrow-inspired piano, violin and cello trio who scrape, tap, and trill the day away across a prickly “Landscape.” A piece for percussion duo called “Go, Dog. Go!” claims to ape classic rock riffs and beats, but frankly, it’s hard to tell. The title track continues where the opener left off and shuts the disc down with five sections of more composed free-sounding clatter packed tight with explosions of cello, clarinet, contrabass, flute, guitar, horn, percussion, trombone, viola and violin. The highlight comes from an unlikely yet humorous source–an incessant typewriter that pecks away and someone who repeatedly pounds a hammer onto a nail. The whole shebang comes complete with a thick-ass booklet that contains the most copious liner notes ever crammed into a CD booklet.

    Label: Innova Catalog Number: 666 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Total Time: 72:42 Country: United States Released: 2006 More: Atlanta Center For the Arts, Discogs, Forced Exposure, Last.FM, Official, Napster, Stanford Magazine, YouTube

    Text ©2009 Arcane Candy

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