Five new albums from Innova Records—all released this month—move from solo upright bass music to wild, electronic experimentation, covering the kind of sonically broad terrain that has become the label’s signature. Innova operates under the banner of the American Composers Forum, in St. Paul.
Cellist Mariel Roberts’ Nonextraneous Sounds tests the limits of contemporary cello technique in a group of five solo works by New York-based composers in their late 20s and early 30s. Two are for solo cello alone and three incorporate electronics. Diverse in style, these pieces—all commissioned for Roberts—showcase her technical assurance, interpretive élan, and distinctive quicksilver tone.
The idea of percussion and rhythm is written directly into the title of David Kechley’s new album, Colliding Objects. The result is a set of precise, tactile works focused on the places where things connect: where the mallet hits the marimba, where the stick strikes the drum skin, where the tongue flutters on the reed.
Based on the short story “The Barnum Museum,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser, Barry Schrader has created a visionary aural journey into the surreal. Schrader works more in the realm of tone poem than strict narration. The Barnum Museum is an album that can fly past as you become lost in the layers—rich yet spare atmosphere, thick textures and unexpected melodic resonance.
On his fourth album as a leader, New York bassist and composer Dave Phillips takes his quartet, Freedance, to new places. Confluence is a collection of eight works blending folk-like melodies, mixed meters and dynamic instrumental interplay to create a modern chamber jazz sound. Phillips’ core group consists of guitarist Rez Abbasi, alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher and drummer Tony Moreno.
On his first solo album, Neomonology, double bass hero Jeffrey Weisner leaves well-traveled musical paths behind, tackling three profound and substantial new pieces. Weisner’s album is an evocative journey beyond the event horizon of the double bass, at once strange and resonant.
Visit Innova’s web site to sample each album.