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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

J.P.A Falzone & Morgan Evans-Weiler - Chordioid [Another Timbre - 2020]

Chordioid is a two-CD set that severs up two lengthy, skeletal, and decidedly haunting modern chamber pieces for piano, vibraphone, and violin. The release appears on the always worthy British label Another Timbre- who over the years has put out some great releases in the modern classical, improv, and lo-key electro-acoustic genres.

The two CD’s appear in the labels house style minimal gatefold design- with the front cover featuring a picture of a grainy mossy & white shape floating in a sea of blackness. In the inside gatefold we have extracts of both pieces scores. 


The release brings together J.P.A.Falzone- who plays fortepiano, piano, and vibraphone- and also composed the piece of the first disc “Y Tŷ Unnos III”. And Morgan Evans-Weiler who plays Violin, and composed the second CD’s piece “Locational Variations”- and each party plays on each others composition.

So on disc one, we have “Y Tŷ Unnos III”- this rolls in at spot on the forty-five-minute mark and is split into seven tracks that run between two and seven minutes. With each track we find a variation on a skeletal & forlorn pattern of notation- to begin with, the melody/ structure is sparse but fairly firm in its form & repetition, but as we move on things alter & adjust- taking in pace shifts, instrumental pattern breaks, & subtle pitch shifts. When I first played this work through I’ll have to admit it didn’t grab me- it felt like there was too little adjustment/ shift occurring, and with the breaks between the tracks, one didn’t get that classic Feldman like feeling of getting lost in the subtle shifting patterns. But after a few more plays it started to click & work for me- the use of breaks gives one the feeling of attempts at resetting or gentle if often woozy retrying.  The tracks uses ones memory & recall in an interesting way- so you start to doubt the original/ first setting & how far it’s moved/ adjusted. So like many modern classical works, it’s very much of a grower, but when it clicks it’s rather rewarding.

Going onto the second disc we have “Locational Variations” this lasts sixty-one minutes, and is broken up into six tracks that each run between six and sixteen minutes. The pace/ feel of this work seems more slurred, off-angle and warped from the off- though there is still a certain structure & repeated notation/ patterns occurring. We move hazed string simmers & careful key darts, onto dragged out & malevolent blends of string, vibe, and key mesh, through to slurred & seesawing waltzes. The work feels like it’s in constant decline, stark breakdown, or sonically emotional lowness- as the pair slow twist, bay, and pull out the patterns & themes of the work. Personally, I found this track a little more instant & compelling from the first play, and it really does nicely set the listener down into a
decidedly glum & bleak state- with the pair teasing from time-to-time that the whole thing will crawl to a stop, but it never does.


Through-out both compositions  the pair play with great control, focus & pared-back flair. Both works manager to highlights each distinctive way of composing stark & skeletal modern composition- all making Chordioid a most worthy endeavour for those who enjoy sparse & glum chamber works.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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