Isaiah Ceccarelli - Bow [Another Timbre - 2017]Bow brings together a selection of modern classical/ improvised pieces from this Canadian based composer & percussionist. The seven tracks offered up here move from often angular improvising to lush & harmonic string composition. All making for a release that quite a unbalancing-yet- enjoyable proposition that shifts between skewed ‘n’ soured, majestic ‘n’ lush, and somewhere inbetween the two.
Bow is the third release in Another Timbre’s Canadian composers series, and as usual, it comes in the label house style stark, simple yet effective white mini gatefold sleeve. The front cover takes in a murky & overlaid illustration of what looks like hundreds of ruled black lines over a gray backdrop.
The seven pieces presented here were composed between 2014 & 2015, with each piece having running times between three & seventeen minutes. All of the seven tracks are live recordings, though as you expect with an Another Timbre release- each is captured with perfect sonic definition & balance.
The release opens up with "Sainte- Ursule #11", and this finds the more angular & improvised side of Mr Ceccarelli compositions. The three minute twenty track features the sound of the Organetto- a rarely-heard & distinctive sounding medieval keyboard instrument, and percussion played by Ceccarelli himself. The piece brings together the sour & sometimes shrill sound of the Organetto, with clip-clopping & wondering gong & percussive elements. The track starts off proceeds in a suitable unbalancing-yet fragile form.
After this, we have the just over nine minutes of "Falsbordone"- which is a more formal string work piece for violins, viola & cello. The piece is built around a sombre-yet- harmonic progression, that has a few more sustained & soured edges later on. In my mind, it rather summoned up images of a small group of prospectors, making there way across the huge landscape of the Americas in a ragtag covered wagon in the early 19th century. Very much bringing together the feelings of adhesion & fear, with moments of hope & grandeur.
And really these two tracks nice show the contrast between the two sides of Mr. Ceccarelli sound- the remaining five tracks move between these two settings, mostly staying in one or the other, but at times the more sour & angular moments do make them selves felt in the more formal string works.
On the whole, I enjoyed much of what Bow had to offer. Through-out Mr Ceccarelli shows his scope as a composer- yet the whole release flows effectively in its see-sawing between sour unpredictable & harmonic yet somber grandeur.Roger Batty