Boomkat Product Review:
Bay Area new music innovator Loren Rush has worked alongside Pauline Oliveros and Terry Riley, but remarkably little of his work has been made widely available. Sean McCann's Recital attempts to correct that with 'Dans Le Sable', Rush's first new album in over 40 years - a surreal, melancholy fog of opera, orchestra and digital synthesis. Listen and bowl yourself over - it's a proper headmelt.
Best known for his 1970 drone piece 'Hard Music', where three pianists would play a single note to form rhythmically-shifting clouds of sound, Loren Rush is described by Recital as a "deeply overlooked composer". For some reason his work has been absent from the reissue machine until now, and judging by 'Dans Le Sable' it's hard to see why. The opening, title track, was written and recorded in the late 1960s, and weighs in at a hefty 20 minutes. It's a kaleidoscopic work, verging on sound collage but using orchestral and operatic elements that pile up on each other to offset each element's unique characteristics.
Using narration, distant slow piano, faint orchestrals, audience coughs and an assured soprano, the components are oddly combined - in the most startling and satisfying way - overlaid purposefully but awkwardly to enhance contextual resonance. It sounds almost like walking through a music hall as sounds waft over from every direction, finally converging into a dense, textured whole. Rush expands on these ideas with 'Song' and 'Dance', two more experimental pieces that put orchestral sounds - and their possibilities - under the microscope.
'Song' is weightless and eerie, with phrases performed almost randomly to jar and engage, forming hypnotic orchestral ambience that breathes with pregnant suspense. The biggest surprise though is 'Dance', one of the first orchestral pieces to use computer-generated digital synthesis and a jaw-droppingly complex collision of sounds. Bouncing shards of synths roll and ping around rhythmic percussion and flurries of strings and trumpets: it sounds like the Radiophonic Workshop processing an evening with Fluxus.
"Dans Le Sable" is disarming, important music that breathes life into seemingly forgotten history. Huge recommendation.