On their debut Ravello Records release, PLAYFUL EDGE OF THE WAVE, composers Robert J. Martin and Neely Bruce join a love of beauty with the willingness to engage in spirited, magical, even outrageously unexpected sounds and gestures. These composers, with pianist Shirley Blankenship, present a collection of image-based works whose titles and descriptions open a direction to understanding the music.
Martin presents 100 Views of Mt. Fuji: 100 Pieces in 100 Minutes-Homage to Hokusai, a series of short evocations of Hokusai's woodcuts of Mt. Fuji, each different in its gestures and language, yet all in the same universe. This work exemplifies the concept of image-based music, each piece's title offering a vision for the music. In his Improvisations, Bruce reveals the gentle and mesmerizing side of contemporary non-traditional harmonies. In Homage to Seb, the composer presents an amazingly atonal and pleasingly modern side of Johann Sebastian Bach. The collection ends with Martin's stone & feather, an exploration of timbre, lightness, and heaviness. The images found in the pieces' titles and descriptions are keys to the music, allowing the listener to unlock a door between the abstract and the concrete, between the composer and the audience member, and to discover a vivid world that is captivating and new.