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Modern Classical: Rick Cox, Jim Fox, Kyle Gann

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RICK COX: Fade (CD on Cold Blue Music)

This release from 2005 features 25 minutes of minimal ambience.

Featured on this CD are: Rick Cox on electric guitar, Thomas Neuman on piano, and Peter Freeman on bass and signal processors.

This release sports a single track that explores ambient sensibilities with twinkling tones and gradually amassing substance in the form of mutated guitar and tentative minimalist piano. These dwindling elements successfully conspire to evoke a receding soundscape of serene quality, one that strains to remain but inevitably fades like fog exposed to a summer dawn.

The “fade” is quite constant, never reaching silence, never surging with any vigor.

This music frequently sounds like a hesitant orchestra struggling to achieve audibility from a great distance.

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JIM FOX: Descansos, Past (CD on Cold Blue Music)

This release from 2005 features 15 minutes of modern orchestral music.

Musicians on this release include: Barry Newton on double bass, with Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, Jessica Catron, Aniela Perry, and Rachel Arnold on cellos.

This is sad music, established through elongated cello passages that rouse melancholy with sobering and sedate sweeps. Quietly plucked bass notes punctuate the fog like truncated bullfrog calls amidst a grieving medium of chamber music. The bass and cellos cooperate, but rarely coexist, furthering the composition by passing off to each other with respectful deference.

The bass briefly energizes its expression through a softly ricocheting manner before returning to its sleepy velocity. The cellos respond with a burst of their own verve, casting off their morose definition to mildly explore a soporific jubilance. Ultimately, everything reverts to a somber attitude for the finale.

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KYLE GANN: Long Night (CD on Cold Blue Music)

This CD from 2005 features 25 minutes of a modern classical piano recital.

Composed by Gann and recorded in the early Eighties, this release features Sarah Cahill on three pianos.

Velvet soundscapes flourish here, as fingers tickle the ivories with delicate reserve. The notes spill lazily into the air, defining a reflective calm that is easygoing and sparse. The melodies are tender and congenial, uncomplicated yet softly persistent.

Attaining no crescendo, the music drifts with an airy demeanor. Pleasant emotions are conveyed through the sedate chords. One can close one’s eyes and the tuneage conjures a serene twilight with temperate breezes and even a hint of lilac in the air.

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