Michael Vincent Waller: Moments Album Review

Since its founding in Tommy McCutchon's apartment in Austin in 2006, the Unseen Worlds imprint has become a refined voice in the explorations of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, extolling a historically neglected composer like Laurie Spiegel or reprinting albums that bridge the gap between pop and avant-garde. In addition to reprints, Unseen Worlds also offered an adventurous exploration of contemporary piano music. The releases range from the majestic solo piano pieces of the Ethiopian classical composer Girma Yifrashewa to the painfully slow shooting of Erik Satie, founding Fluxus member Philip Corner in a fantastic modern ambient album by jungle pioneer / breakcore Robert Haigh.

This year the label adds two new entries to that list, the first Leo Svirsky based in Aia River without banks and now Michael Vincent Waller's third album, moments. Debut in 2015 on Waller's double record The southern coast found the New York composer presenting a wide range of works written over a period of five years, with about 20 musicians in total performing pieces for cello solo, string quartet, flute and a saxophone and a guitar ensemble electric. In 2017 trajectories, Waller has reduced his attention to the interaction between cello and piano. moments further magnifies; five of the 18 compositions presented here are for vibraphone, the rest for piano solo. R. Andrew Lee, pianist on trajectories and a well-known performer for minimalist composers like Dennis Johnson and Jürg Frey, he is sitting on the bench again. Waller enlists William Winant, percussionist of the likes of John Zorn, Frank Zappa and Roscoe Mitchell, on the vibraphone. Both are famous for their moderation and adapt perfectly to Waller's sensitivity. Every note and gesture up moments seems to be deeply felt and philosophically pondered before a hand touches a piano key or raises a hammer.

Waller is not interested in hiding behind any sort of artifice in his compositions, transmitting the feeling as directly as possible through the notation. There is little reverberation in the recording, no electronic processing or layering; the support pedal is not pressed for the duration of the album. He is not interested in a bigger canvas when a postcard will suffice. None of the compositions lasts more than six minutes and many speak their song well before the three-minute mark. Waller seems in tune with the notes played for the nuances produced and their natural decay, which perhaps derives from his studies with minimalist composers such as La Monte Young and Bunita Marcus, this last perhaps best known for the song that the composer Morton Feldman called for her.

Erik Satie's name appears in almost all of Waller's writings, and it is not difficult to remember Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" during a passage on Waller's melancholy "Nocturnes – No. 4". But Feldman is the most eloquent reference, especially in Waller balance and exploration of the attack and decay of the instruments. "Vibraphone Studio" wraps itself in warm and persistent tones, pausing every few lines to make the nuances disappear. The splendid "Jennifer", dedicated to his cousin, moves swiftly from the opening chords to a burst of high notes before passing at half speed, carefully exploring a descending bass melody that gives each note ample space in which to play. His dedication to the late Pauline Oliveros, "For Pauline", exemplifies his principles of "deep listening" not with a long-lasting and large-scale composition similar to his work, but with three delicate minutes in which each of Lee's agreements moves as you pass through flowing stones of the river.

As much as Waller's writing is minimized, as well as autonomous and uninterrupted as each piece, it is almost surprising when the album arrives at the extraordinary "Bounding" finale. Lee's reproduction begins measured, but soon picks up speed, each run speeds up the pace to reach a striking peak. The last third of the piece flows into a waterfall, the emotional moderation of the album finally leaves the place for publication. Sterling and thin like moments may be, the ending seems nothing but cathartic.


Buy: wholesale trade

(Pitchfork could earn a commission from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.)

. (tagsToTranslate) Michael Vincent Waller (t) Experimental

Related Stories

Discover

Popular Categories

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.