(Tzadik)

Brown’s status among modern sonic inquirers should be held in high esteem, as this most interesting collection shows. The key word in Chris’ material is “interaction”, applied both to real instruments and advanced software and techniques, all of which create pleasing and stimulating aural domains – like in the gorgeous “Flies”, scored for violin, piano and percussion plus live electronics. Brown’s expertise in computer networking is greatly evident in his unstable organizations of psychoacoustic investigations, of which “Cloudstreams/Bellwethers” is the perfect symbol here; what starts like a claustrophobic house of mirrors becomes an almost graceful harmonic decomposition that dissipates and re-coagulates in translucent metamorphoses. Yet, the best satisfactions lie in the treatment of the acoustic instruments by this Chicago-born composer: the way percussion, trombone and vibraphone mesh with orchestral synthesis in the final “Alternating currents” is nothing short of glorious, while “Retroscan” (for piano and electronics) offers a whole new meaning to the concept of multidimensional writing for a single instrument.

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