José-Luis Hurtado - Parametrical Counterpart [Kairos Music - 0000]
Parametrical Counterpart is an eight-track CD release bringing together the often violent, manic and darting modern classical compositions of Mexican born American composer José-Luis Hurtado. The works here are for solo piano, mixed ensembles, and blends of piano & fixed media.
The digipak cover features a brutally vivid painting of a yellow and white half cross sitting in textured blood-red paint. With CD’s booklet taking in a forty-page inlay booklet with English/ German texts, composition notes, and photos.
Seemingly Hurtado has been creating work since the late 2000s, with just this and a 2009 compilation to his name at present- so Parametrical Counterpart is his debut album. And it’s certainly far from an easy or soothing ride.
We open with the eleven and a half minutes of “The caged, the immured”- this was composed in 2018 and is for solo piano. The tracks a jagged and darting journey- with the playing drastically shifting between low and high dense note chops ‘n’ bangs, forlorn notation trails, rapid key runs, and distant low-end slams. In theory/ on paper, it should sound like a manic mess, but instead, it’s both invigorating & rather cathartic.
Moving through the CD we come the jerking ‘n’ snapping percussion meets horn and string manic swoon and pick of 2015’s “Parametrical Counterpart version 2” which roles in at the three-minute forty mark. We have the sliding neck grate, pick, and squeal of "Incandescent" which is also from 2015. With the disc playing with another 2015 track “Le Stelle” which is nearing eight minutes of rapid darting piano, compressed horn honk, gritty snap ‘n’ bang- and general sawing manic-ness.
I certainly admire and respect what Hurtado is offering us on Parametrical Counterpart, and for the most part, it’s a rewarding darting and manic ride. I just felt maybe at the fifty-minute mark the whole thing is a little much/overwhelming, but I guess if you're looking for just shy of an hour's worth of controlled and taut chaos this will most certainly do the job.Roger Batty