On her newly launched album, Maquishti (Valley of Search), percussionist-composer Patricia Brennan affords up the wooden of the marimba and the metallic of the vibraphone to develop using our senses, inviting us to discover by seeing and listening to, watching and listening, however largely, touching.
Maquishti will be consumed within the nuances of those senses, like shifting between listening and listening to. Listening requires consideration to the sounds; strive listening to this album with a inventive conundrum in thoughts, and let Brennan’s music nourish it. Listening to requires give up; strive listening to this album with out something in thoughts, and Brennan forges visuals for seeing with new eyes.
Most tracks on the album use pedal factors, both sustained alone or as an anchor for a bigger idea. In I Like For You To Be Nonetheless, the pedal is a single observe, whereas in Level of No Return, the pedal is a low tone that begins a seven-note rhythm going by as rapidly as a snap of the finger. In Magic Sq., the pedal sits on the precipice of an overhanging rhythmic sample; it at all times catches the beat although it’s barely clinging on, making the feeling of falling the pedal of selection. The repetitive strokes required to maintain a observe on a melodic percussion instrument make even this sense of contact a pedal level in itself.
On the vibraphone tracks, digital enhancements give the misunderstanding that there are extra percussion devices being performed. Improvisation III begins with a low pedal level that sounds just like the pairing of an orchestral bass drum and pitched gong. This trades with open, parallel transferring chords within the excessive register of the vibraphone that sound extra like a celesta. In I Like For You To Be Nonetheless and Episodes, the vibraphone mimics a flexatone, an instrument that produces sound by bending metallic. In Level of No Return, the vibraphone transforms right into a glockenspiel, then crotales, then a kalimba.
On Away From Us, Brennan’s use of a string bow on the vibraphone’s metallic bars is thick. Not layered in top as if the digital sounds are added on prime or slipped in under the vibraphone, however thick in width as if these sounds are coming straight out of the resonators. In Photo voltaic and Episodes, these digital manipulations concur, coexist, and commingle concurrently–they occur earlier than anybody can catch them within the act. In Episodes, they sneak in ever so deceitfully. It’s a job listening for the digital sounds, however repeated listens to this album sharpen their sensations.
All through this album, wooden and metallic additionally get to exist of their pure type with hammering, reducing, scraping, and forging. When sustaining a observe on marimba, percussionists normally masks the sound of repeatedly putting the wooden by utilizing sure mallets and particular strategies. However in Improvisation VI and Improvisation VII, each stroke is audible and each contact is felt. Brennan takes an identical method to the vibraphone in Level of No Return, scraping the keys as if the metallic has been melted and doing the work of a blacksmith to form the metallic anew.
The final observe, Derrumbe de Turquesas, rests within the house between listening and listening to, between paying consideration and surrendering. Brennan lands firmly on the bottom, utilizing gaps of silence to remain nonetheless. The melodic, open-chordal motion has a longtime tonal middle that harmonically resolves—the primary and likewise final time that is accomplished on the album. And but, this observe doesn’t abandon the carpentry of the wooden heard on her improvised tracks.
Percussion is a vast discipline of potentialities which may make it infinitely summary, however Brennan makes use of solo percussion to really feel and see on par with the likes of Olivier Messiaen and Paul Dukas. Messiaen’s The Birds makes use of the xylophone to supply a crystal clear audible visible of birdsong. Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice makes use of the glockenspiel so nicely that the star-lit sparkle coming from a magic wand will be visibly felt. Like each of those excerpts, Brennan delivers audible and tangible visuals alone, unaccompanied by different devices.
Maquishti eschews frequent percussion aesthetics, which are sometimes about rhythmic really feel however not sensational really feel. Brennan is uncommon within the classical percussion discipline–not simply as a girl of coloration, however as a composer who approaches the marimba as a carpenter and the vibraphone as a blacksmith. Finally, what Maquishti contributes to the percussion canon is Patricia Brennan herself.
I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Discussion board, funded with beneficiant donor and institutional assist. Opinions expressed are solely these of the creator and will not signify the views of ICIYL or ACF.