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Game / No Game

Artist: George Marsh / W. A. Mathieu
George Marsh, W. A. Mathieu - Game / No Game CD
Label: Mutable Music
Regular Price: $14.95
On Sale For: $7.48 
Year: 2004
Format: CD


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When George and I play together we tend to hear compositionally, that is, we try to weave coherent stories told through musical ideas. Surface texture, which is like the atmosphere of a story, does arise, of course, but strictly musical ideas drive the narrative from the inside. This means remembering (as best we can) what we've been playing. Consequently the pieces are short, typically three or four minutes. On the track list, we described the pieces but left them untitled because no matter how hard we try to find names for them, for us they remain simply pieces that sound the way they sound.
George Marsh (percussion); W. A. Mathieu (piano)
1. Sometimes the instruments themselves can suggest structure. My game here was to keep the piano inside the sound of the cymbals and gongs while George made metal music. (Please list times after selections)
2. This is a cross-pulse piece, where various interweaving pulses generate the 3. The brushes set the mood, but otherwise this is a calm, free moment of just listening.
4. A finger-damped piano string leads the pulse, and the percussion leads the story.
5. This piece seems to pass by like landscape. There were no pre-agreements, no game, Just Play. When we heard the playback one of us said, "This is our symphony," and the other said, "Yes."
6. In this piece (which rhymes somewhat with #2 and #4), the percussion sets the pulse and the piano guides the story. It is the conclusion of what seems to be Act I of the set.
7. The percussion music is all metal, and the piano part is inspired by an African 3:2 cross-rhythm. How could such a soft lullaby come from metal?
8. The piano leads this "motific" piece-a few ideas tossed around in many 9. We started out with the piano staying inside the special tonalities of the gongs and cymbals, but the music led us to its own mysterious ending.
9. The percussion tells the story in this pulse piece while the piano holds the pulse. The trance-like quality maintains, even through the sudden snare drum roll near the end. It's the sibling of #4.
10. With exquisite subtlety, George plays a single hand-drum, and I play the pictures inside of it.
11. This piece reminds me of the gamelans of Indonesia. It seems calming to hear, and was calming to play. It pairs with #7, and closes the second section of the CD.
12. Cymbals lead the music in what could be an Act III overture.
13. The gongs and their strange tunings lead us-where? Weird lights? A rain forest in a city? A perfumed cave? Gentle listener, fill in your own strangeness here.
14. The percussion leads a cross-pulse piece, an energetic companion to #4 and # In this one I pay homage to my secret 19th century romantic self. It doesn't take long, though, before that gives way to:
# A scherzoid interlude led first by brushes, then sticks.
# This is like the game Who Leads in that the story-telling is passed equally back and forth between the players. It is also as close as we get (in this collection) to jazz, the musical family home we were both raised in.
# Although this begins like another gamelan piece (similar to #12), the music breaks through that texture to take unexpected directions.
# This is another pure Just Play piece: no game.
# Finally, let's relent a little and give this one a title: Georgian Owl, an even and equal flight into the night by George & Al.
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