Album Review

Neil Rolnick “Digits” [innova]

cujo   7/12/2006   A Library, CD

This is sampler virtuoso Rolnick’s 2nd outing on Innova.

1. Digits (11:08): Kathleen Supov? plays the piano while Rolnick plays the computer, whose only sound source is the piano, selectively looped and echoed. The piece is fast-slow-fast, rhythmic & full of repetition. The overall intent (of the sampling) is to create an impression of impossible piano virtuosity of the not-enough-fingers variety. It only mildly works on disk; this would be far more interesting live.

2 – 7. Making Light Of It: A song setting of 6 Philip Levine poems, performed by Peter Eldridge. What makes it interesting is Rolnick’s accompaniment, which may as well have been lifted from Belladonna’s record bin: musical laptop meandering that sometimes nears glitch or dance and often embraces synthy harmonies.

8. A Robert Johnson Sampler (10:00): A revisitation of one of Rolnick’s earlier works, in which the Faustian guitarist’s sounds are sampled, layered, deconstructed, processed, and reassembled in front of your very ears. Delta dental work.

9. Plays Well With Others (13:25): Ha! The Paul Dresher Ensemble performs this political satire which pokes fun at Bush & company by comparing them to rich playground bullies. Clever (if not obvious) allusions to Georgie and Dickie’s education, gay marriage, and terrorism policies are supported by a hodgepodge electroacoustic ensemble (that might be related to the California EAR?) highlighted by the appropriately childlike clarinet and marimba and instrumental ‘nanananabooboos?.

-Cujo, KFJC, July 2006

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