Between * William St. Hugh

Between

BETWEEN – PRELUDE (00.00)   Also on Spotify

Prelude (00.00) by Between is one of the (four) releases in the April batch (yes, I know – still catching up) of Longform Editions. It is the 99th title in this impressive series curated by Andrew Khedoori.

Between is ‘a loose collective of musicians revolving around Taylor Deupree’s 12K label’.
In this particular case Taylor Deupree (electronics) and Stephen Vitiello (guitar, electronics) prepared several hours of recordings, and after that ‘opened them up to remote contributions’ from Corey Fuller (piano), Federico Durand (acoustic guitar, objects), Michael Grigoni (lap steel) and Molly Berg (clarinet).

‘ The mix changed day to day as the addition of one meant carving out additional space and finding a satisfying sum of all parts.’

The result is a (20-minute) piece that feels like a restrained improvisational set – as if the six musicians were actually performing together (even though they weren’t). There’s a beautiful balance of the supporting electronics and the acoustic instruments; the combination is an invitation to listen to each detail in the mix.

“When you learn to listen you learn the art of restraint, of letting your movements take a backseat to your ears and to let yourself inhabit a new mental and physical space.” Taylor Deupree

I don’t know what exactly the (00.00) stands for, but I do hope the title means that we can expect more to come to follow up this Prelude.


Dominion

WILLIAM ST. HUGH – DOMINION   Also on Spotify

I cannot tell you very much about composer William St. Hugh, simply because I don’t know anything about him – apart from the fact that he is from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and that Dominion is his sixth release (which, by the way, can all be heard on Spotify).

Its predecessor, The Cracking Ship (August 2021), was inspired by ‘the ill-fated Antarctic expedition of The Endurance’. Dominion‘s theme may be even darker than that: it is inspired by Richard Rhodes’ book The Making Of The Atomic Bomb.

The classic orchestral setting (horns, strings, wind instruments, and percussion) merged with electronic undercurrents evokes an eerie atmosphere. Most of the time the restrained atmosphere feels like this could have been a movie soundtrack; I felt the atmosphere in the opening tracks was not unlike that of Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Under the Skin.

Only halfway through (in Discovery) the orchestral sound suddenly expands to its full potential, but it immediately retreats to an almost subconscious level. The 17-minute track Infinite Dark could not have had a better title: it gives voice to total and irreversible darkness.
In the closing track The World Set Free the orchestra opens up once again, but still with dark undertones that do not leave much room for optimism or hope.

Dominion is only available as a digital download, but in my opinion, its musical quality would definitely deserve a physical edition too. Who knows what the future may bring (but I wouldn’t wait for it if I were you)

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