Album Review

Kitty Brazelton “Chamber Music for the Inner Ear” [Composer Recordings Inc]

cujo   2/20/2006   A Library, CD

Kitty Brazelton is a busy New York music maker; in our library we’ve already got one CD from a previous project Dadadah and her ‘What Is It Like To Be A Bat?’. Here’s a collection of 1990s compositions.

Come Spring! (24:25 in 4 movements): is funnest piece on the CD. It’s a totally dadabeboperrific suite for brass quintet. Wallow in the 1st movement’s brass sound, the tuba-owned 2nd movement, 3rd movement is a prayer sandwiched by jazz riffs.

R (6:13): Alien scat/Beat for violin, guitar, voice, bass, and bongos. The vocal part (sung for Kitty) sells it for me.

Sonar Como Una Tromba Larga (10:34): Trombone & post-recorded mellow electronic wash. There’s a rhythmic middle section that straddles the line between a pop song’s ‘break? and good old weirdness: extended breathing techniques, clinking and clanking – it gradually expands and builds to an unexpectedly satisfying conclusion.

Called Out Ol? Texas (7:32): A ‘comprov? based on 4 symbols for alto sax and cello. See the liner notes; symbols 3 and 4 are immediately apparent on listening; 1 and 2 flew over my head. The two instruments begin by trading short two-note barbs at each other. Then Sax has a long melody phrase. Then cello has an even longer meandering melody. They go back to trading barbs. They wind up in more or less unison fashion, with melodic fragments that remind of R a bit. Cello seems a bit weak… or did it just get assigned the weaker symbol bits?

Sonata for the Inner Ear (23:18 in 3 movements): Octet ‘sonata? for the California EAR unit. The 1st movement, Exposition, is a compressed high-energy ABA piece with fast rhythmic drive, drum set backbone, a quiet bass clarinet middle section, and cascading sextuplets. The 2nd movement, Development, is a series of semi-notated improvisation passages for (in order): drum kit, violin, bass clarinet, organ, unison drums & marimba (wow!), cello, and a final calming flute (with Kirk-ish flute-whistling!). The 3rd movement, Recapitulation, begins with a sampler solo (of EAR outtakes), recalls some of the more frenetic portions of the Exposition (what part of Sonata don’t you understand?), and it’s tutti all the way to the finish.

-Cujo, KFJC, February 2006

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