Peter Garland - Three Strange Angels [Tzadik - 2008]Peter Garland is American post minimalist composer with a fascination for American Indian and Mexican musical/rhythmic elements, & he's been making poignant, rhythmic, ritual, alien and dramatic sounding music since the early 70’s. Three Strange Angels is highly consistent, varied and rewarding collection that brings together work from the 70’s through to the early 90’s.
The music here goes from; the tranquil and golden picked harp and tone ambience of the first two pieces; Canters Dl La Front era and Apple Blossom. To the alien, haunting, and rhythmic title track with bounding ominous war drums, discordant piano hits and eerier bullroarer humming tone. To the mischievous, earthy and bright harmonic pipes, quirky scratching tones and buoyant percussion of Two Dances For The Conquest Of Mexico. The pieces here are played with a mixture of piano, violin, harp, recorder, various forms of percussion, and traditional Mexican rhythmic instrumentation curtsey of the University of New Mexico Percussion Ensemble. With Garland managing to make his music often harmonic and dramatic, yet it’s all so still challenging, strange and ultimately very rewarding.
Through out the seven song suites that make up Three Strange Angels Garland manages to convey a large array of different emotions and atmospheres bounding western harmonics and dramatics with older and more traditional forms of sonic and rhythmic expression.Roger Batty