EMERGENCY STRING QUINTET – On The Corner (Market and Sixth)

(Public Eyesore)

Recorded in San Francisco in 2001, here’s one of the nicest string quintets I’ve ever heard. Jeff Hobbs and Kevin Van Yserloo (violins), Jonathan Fretheim (viola), Bob Marsh (cello) and Damon Smith (double bass) take the listener by the very ear and close him in a cellar where there are not many lights, just a lot of changes in mood and atmospheres. Emergency go from parallel glissando to scratching and hissing in a split second; they’re capable of producing the most involving phrases – always firmly circumnavigating any consonance, of course – and letting you fall deep down in a cluster inferno. Also, the percussive aspect of their music is something you have to do with; some of their parts are not so far by Frank Zappa’s music for strings contained on his “Yellow Shark”, at least as a distant impression. This is a group putting Kronos Quartets and similar yuppies to sleep, once and for all.

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