A Digital View from the Inside Out
Nana Pi Aabo Larsen
Kalle van Timonen
Jeff Morris presents his fourth Ravello Records release, this one focusing on woodwinds and employing his characteristic live sampling and electronics. CLOSE REEDING is the latest since HEARING VOICES, an album which set its sights on the most fundamentally-human musical instrument: the human voice. Now, Morris turns his attention to woodwind instruments, which he terms the “next most human” family of instruments. By way of digital manipulation and live improvisation, Morris gives this thesis a convincing exposition.
One might think of the “humanness” of a saxophone as being diametrically opposed to the cold, binary logic of a computer. As Morris sees it, the electronic interface that Morris controls is extremely sensitive to the input it receives, outlining its operator’s humanity in a sort of digital "counter-relief." CLOSE REEDING is an unchoreographed dance between Morris and the instrumentalist. Pulsating with the thrill of live performance, the musicians react to each other, and somehow, the machine seems to add its own artistic choices to the composition as well.
While most of the tracks feature a single woodwind instrumentalist going head to head with Morris, What’s in a Whisper, a 4-movement piece, includes not only an alto saxophone but also a drum set and synthesizers. By isolating split-second musical moments, Morris draws out each instrument’s range of timbral complexity with microscopic clarity—giving serious credence to the title CLOSE REEDING.
Electronic music lovers set a high bar when it comes to pushing the creative envelope. Morris rises to the challenge in CLOSE REEDING, delivering a program that is at once cutting edge and elementally human. With the help of a cadre of gifted musicians from around the world, Morris’s latest installment will leave audiences anxiously anticipating what’s next.
Release Date: September 11, 2020
Catalog #: RR8041
Format: Physical & Digital
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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
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