Noah Creshevsky “Round with a Sleep” CD (2012)

cover artAmerican electoacoustic composer Creshevsky is probably best known for his appearance on various LPs from the Opus One label (which was run by the recently departed Max Schubel); pieces from which were later collected for a CD release in Japan on the EM Records label. At least that is how I know of his work. Since those days he’s had a pair of discs each from Centaur Records and Tzadik. Keeping that trend, this is now his second CD on Pogus following 2008’s split with If, Bwana entitled “Favorite Encores”. This latest disc features seven compositions created between 2006 and 2011 with each focusing on a different soloist, seemingly as source material for electronically manipulated end products. Among the featured players are Sherman Friedland (clarinet), Lisa Barnard Kelley (voice), Stuart Isacoff (piano improvisations), Tomomi Adachi (voice), Juha Laitinen (cello), and on “The Kindness of Strangers” the one trio of the disc with Gary Heidt (voice and guitar), Rich Gross (lap steel/banjo) and Orin Buck (bass). Each piece evinces a busy, almost hyperactive in some cases, flow of the material, with a multitude of individual notes and tonal variations. In fact the hyper- prefix comes up in Creshevsky’s liner notes as he explains his concept of Hyperrealism which is the mixture of real parts of our environment treated in exgerated, excessive or just plain hyper ways. So while the sound sources are acoustic in origin, the way they are assembled reminds me more of the approach of electroacoustic composition. One stated aim of this is to be able to take the performances beyond the limits of human abilities and create virtual super-virtuosos. This focus on individual sources is a bit of contrast to his earlier compositions which were often collages of disparate material, yet still retains some of the same internal logic. And I suppose keeping with his reputation for juxtaposition, two of the tracks do add what appears to be virtual instruments to the featured soloist and the opening, title track credits no performers, which points to the likelihood that all the sounds on that track are sampled. Probably the furtherest out track on the album is “Tomomi Adachi Redux II”. The piece’s titular vocalist might be known for his solo CD on Edition Omega Point, but his stylizations mostly clearly evoke a comparison to Chris Mann for me. “What If” also stands out for its arrangement of the hyperreal piano which heads towards the realm of Conlon Nancarrow yet don’t ape his style.

Pogus Productions – 21063-2