"Creshevsky's music is cosmopolitan and streetwise post-modern expression. I do not exaggerate when I say that I have never heard anything like Creshevsky's music before. If you're up for an aural adventure, here's your ticket." (Josh Mailman, American Record Guide)
"If, Bwana is some sort of evil genius working with raw materials which are never adapted to a genre or a context, because they create one in that very moment. Those sources are radically altered up to an utterly unrecognizable state, anarchic manifestations moving in compact determination." (Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes)
A split cd of works by Noah Creshevsky (4 tracks) and If, Bwana (3 tracks). While on the face of it this may seem a somewhat odd pairing, the pieces recorded here comment on and highlight each other. And as the above quotes suggest, an aural adventure is indeed in the offing.
Trained in composition by Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Luciano Berio at Juilliard, Noah Creshevsky has taught at Juilliard, Princeton University, and Brooklyn College. He was director of the Center for Computer Music (1994-2000) and is currently Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His musical vocabulary consists largely of familiar bits of words, songs, and instrumental music that are edited but rarely subjected to electronic processing. The result is a music that obscures the boundaries of real and imaginary ensembles though the fusion of opposites: music and noise, comprehensible and incomprehensible vocal sources, human and superhuman vocal and instrumental capacities. Creshevsky's most recent hyperrealist compositions explore the fragmentation and reconstruction of pre-existing music in combination with original synthetic and acoustic materials. Moments suggest musical environments of indeterminate ethnicity--simultaneously Western and non-Western, ancient and modern, familiar and unfamiliar.
Hyperrealism is an electroacoustic musical language constructed from sounds that are recognizable parts of our shared environment ("realism"), handled in ways that are exaggerated or excessive ("hyper"). Hyperrealist music exists in two basic genres. The first uses the sounds of traditional instruments that are pushed beyond the capacities of human performers in order to create superperformers--hypothetical virtuosos who transcend the limitations of individual performance capabilities (e.g., Mari Kimura Redux, Intrada, Favorite Encores). Hyperrealism of the second genre aims to integrate vast and diverse sonic elements to produce an expressive and versatile musical language. Its vocabulary is an inclusive, limitless sonic compendium, free of ethnic and national particularity (e.g., Shadow of a Doubt). Hyperrealism celebrates bounty, either by the extravagant treatment of limited sound palettes or by the assembling and manipulating of substantially extended palettes.
Al Margolis has been working under the musical pseudonym If, Bwana since New Year's Day 1984. There are often collaborators in this project‹both knowingly and unknowingly. Both are represented on this recording. Xyloxings was a concept-based work that in the end had the concept discarded for compositional considerations. Lisa Barnard's vocals were recorded with her direct knowledge. Scraping Scrafide uses a portion of Tony Scafide's piano part from a prior work of mine‹3 Out of 4 Ain't Bad‹and processes it. Cicada #4: Barnard Mix is part of my "discipline" series‹an open set of works‹and uses Barnard's vocals from other sessions to create one of many possible versions of this work.