With Six Preludes, Cambridge based Ryan Teague explores the potential for integration between crackly electronica and orchestral instrumentation. It`s an area ripe for development, though one that`s by no means virginal, given Murcof`s previous visits on 2002`s Martes and its partial successor Ulysses.
Teague`s sonic palette is more varied, however, and he clearly feels less constrained to add beats at every turn - only a minority of the six preludes succumbs to a regular percussive rhythm. His writing for strings is also richer and less predictable, with the result that this music is not easy to file away as " beats plus strings " or other, similarly dismissive descriptions.
The string section of " Prelude I " bears the sort of melancholy gravitas last heard to such impressive effect on Asa-Chang and Junray`s Hana. The initially confident impulse of the violins is waylaid by electronic treatments and gradually mutates as a woman`s voice sings wordlessly in the distance. Later, the methodical percussion of " Prelude III " recalls Victor Gama`s rainforest creations while strings pulse like Steve Reich`s Desert Music.
Combined with the crackle and dust of contemporary glitchery and a shortlived pitter-patter beat towards the end, this hybrid becomes more than the sum of its parts. Teague exercises an admirable degree of restraint throughout. He avoids overburdening his music while allowing it to negotiate transitions and foreground activity in a way that consistently engages the attention. Some of these pieces succeed in achieving a notable degree of beauty, but when surveyed as a whole they feel just a little slight. They are, after all, a collection of preludes. Their promise, however, makes me impatient to hear how Teague is going to expand upon these ideas.
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