yMusic Tempers Indie and Classical with 'Beautiful Mechanical'
Q2 Music Album of the Week for October 11, 2011 | Free Download of "Proven Badlands"
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
From Clarice Jensen's fiery cello line that kicks off the opening track you get the sense listening to Beautiful Mechanical that you're sitting in some funky loft kitchen listening to your best friends engage in an impromptu jam session.
That's not to say that yMusic doesn't infuse their debut album with a great deal of work and backbone -- that's an obvious fact from the first lines as well. However, the collaborative cabal makes it all look so effortless and off-the-cuff that it's certain to rouse that rare balance of admiration and envy. The title track (the same to feature Jensen's fingers of fury) by Son Lux belies the group's love for Stravinsky's brand of neoclassicism, underscored by a Renaissance dance beat that is passed from one instrument to the next, notably fearless flutist Alex Sopp, uncanny trumpeter C.J. Camerieri and dynamic violist (and, full disclosure: Q2 Music host) Nadia Sirota.
With a variety of commissions, no flavor goes untested. Annie Clark's Proven Badlands is a rich and evocative soundscape cast in gold and orange tones, providing some heart-thumping moments for Camerieri and clarinettist Hideaki Aomori, while My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden offers two insouciantly-titled tracks (A Whistle, A Tune, A Macaroon and A Paper, A Pen, A Note to a Friend) that incorporate exotic and energetic idioms for flute. Sarah Kirkland Snider's Daughter of the Waves is a sweeping interlude between Worden's two miniatures that highlights Rob Moose's lush violin prowess, while Clearing, Dawn, Dance by Judd Greenstein is an epically high flying work reminiscent of Glass's dance and cinema pieces while never abandoning Greenstein's own signature palette of sounds. The party comes to a close, all too soon, with Gabriel Kahane's twangy Song, a strong representation of yMusic's mission to combine indie with classical -- and vice versa.