Wednesday, 30 June 2010

NOAH CRESHEVSKY – The Twilight Of The Gods


Difficult to find a composer today whose music evolves with the same rapidity of Noah Creshevsky’s. With each new record, his painstaking assemblages of samples – aptly seamed to bring “hyperrealism” into being – acquire a progressively superior degree of complexity, nearer to a kind of perfection that even a non-expert ear can accept as a natural occurrence. The distinguishing feature that separates this artist from the “wild sampladelic bunch” is the terrific musicality of those hotchpotches: one individuates and incorporates an element – if just for fractions of seconds - before receiving the successive message, so that the logical sequence of mercurially quick reasoning that these works elicit is respected at all times. As a rule, this doesn’t happen with the gazillion of disjointedly incoherent minute snippets that are typical of other entities active in similar areas. Instead, by standing in front of these multiform beasts, body and mind behave according to nature’s law amidst thousands of pitches, keys and modes. An utterly galvanizing practice.

There’s serious omnivorousness involved as far as influences are concerned, an additional reason to eagerly welcome the effort. The opening Götterdämmerung” utilizes Klezmer ingredients (provided by The Klez Dispensers) to conceive a virtual hybrid of scatting women, agitatedly swinging wisecracks and hopping cadenzas. Contrariwise, Creshevsky quotes “Brother Tom” - an effective construction of transposed vocal tones by baritone Thomas Buckner - as a “mature” piece that “he would not have written as a young man”. “Estancia” manufactures an awfully intricate, and yet absolutely charming ensemble of nylon-stringed guitars in an implausible counterpoint, an abstemious magniloquence that leaves open-mouthed. “Omaggio" (its components, for unknown reasons, causing this writer to erroneously perceive the presence of morsels of Frank Zappa’s Studio Tan and The Yellow Shark on a first listen) is dedicated to one of Creshevsky’s teachers, Luciano Berio. The cleverness of this dissentient but fulfilling juxtaposition is among the most admirable features of the disc. Another track that I wouldn’t hesitate in using to symbolize the visionary brilliance of this artist’s aesthetic canons is “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now”, a sonic edifice possessing the advanced characteristics of a sophisticated architecture while maintaining traits that connect a listener to the past (ideally represented by snatches of opera and pompous orchestral turnarounds interspersed by absurdly efficient voices of all genders and registers).

Perhaps the deus ex machina’s favourite might be “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, a manipulation of strokes of Ellen Band’s voice generating “exotic, possibly somewhat Middle-Eastern” sonorities without recurring to clichés. The finale - closely recalling a Jewish chant - is a strangely touching moment: a sort of humanoid acknowledgement of the composer’s family roots that once more shows how idiosyncrasy is capable of pushing electroacoustic art a long way from the misery of detestable stereotypes. The Twilight Of The Gods is a rewardingly inventive statement from the sphere where those who work quietly, ignoring the glittering lights of popular reception, usually produce stirring treats for the ears of truly sentient addressees.