Peter Adriaansz - Three Vertical Swells (CD Unsounds)

Incredible modern classical pieces by this US-born Dutch composer whose works here evoke a sombre setting where an immense array of strings, electronics, guitar, Hammond organ drones, piano and sparse percussion forge a world only too easy to happily get completely lost in. The Three Vertical Swells this album is named after form a highly compelling three-part start to this disc, sometimes recalling Charlemagne Palestine in their intensity, whilst five further pieces, entitled Music for Sines, Percussion, Ebows & Variable Ensemble, are a tad lighter and proffer more movement despite the continued textural emphasis and overt moodiness. With voice and trombone additionally entering the fray, the layers assume new shapes only kept in place by repetitively struck piano keys and tinkling chimes. 

As with so much music of this nature, it feels as more at home with all areas of so-called ‘new music’ than it does with its background in classical composition, but it could be contended, ultimately, that it arrives from a tradition the world generally simply hasn’t yet caught up with. Recorded live at a theatre in Utrecht, 2011, as part of the ‘Breaking the Waves’ festival, it leaves one both gasping for air and wishing to have been in attendance.

Incredible. Mesmerising. Wholly effective. RJ.

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