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Musicworks 89




Musicworks 89 features instruments with non-conventional tunings. “On the 19th” has a 19-tone equal temperament guitar played by John Gzowski. It’s a full-blooded piece that’s about half as far from regular intonation as Harry Partch. “Variation #4”, also penned by Gzowski, is for manipulated strings, with Gzowski manipulating magnets and alternating current. Similar to Alvin Lucier and Stephen Scott’s works for manipulated strings, it’s strangely evocative. “Coil”, a noise-based piece for solo tuba, almost reproduces the sound of starting up a sputtering car engine, but it is in fact roughly musical after all. Is it a coincidence that two tracks after this is a bit called “Crank Start’?  “Resounding Pipe” for vocals, PVC pipe, the wind and the trees is resoundingly sweet yet stark, all the components making for a surprisingly Aeolian harp outing. If experimental music has sometimes gotten conventionally strange-using some form of minimalism as an excuse to do very little-you may be glad to hear “String Quartet no. 1” for 48 lengths of amplified music wire. It illuminates the back part of Penderecki’s mind. Musicworks 89 is will stretch your expectations, definitions and preconceptions. That’s more than you could reasonably ask for.



Richard Grooms