April 02, 2013

Big Beautiful Dark and Scary

I'm loosely connected in distant (and entirely accidental) ways to Bang On A Can, and Ashley Bathgate's latest email newsletter sent me off to find BOAC's latest, "Big Beautiful Dark and Scary" on iTunes. With some exceptions (like Julia Wolfe's "Big Beautiful Dark and Scary" itself, or bits of Andriessen's "Life", and Glass's "Closing"), this one's sadly not my cup of tea: way too much of it sounds like some sort of 70's progressive jazz-rock, very tonal, and with almost no dynamics or subtlety (everything seems to play at the same relentless tempo and volume). I'm much more attracted to Moore and Bathgate's TwoSense work.

A few hours later I listen to Pollini playing Stravinsky's Three Dances from "Petruschka" (for piano) — unfair, maybe, but the comparison is telling, with all the welcome dynamics and tonal complexities you'd expect from Stravinsky really pushing and pulling my mind in ways I don't feel from much of BBDaS.

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