Rick Cox, Chas Smith, Richard Lainhart

Rick Cox – Maria Falling Away
(Cold Blue Music CB0006)

After various appearances on other Cold Blue releases, now LA based composer/performer Rick Cox has his own release out. 6 compositions of gently flowing music primarily featuring his guitar bowed with various glass lab slides, sponges and sponges but also his saxophone, clarinet and sampler. He is joined on some of the tracks by Chas Smith (pedal steel guitar), Thomas Newman (piano), Jeff Elmassian (clarinet), and the amazing Jon Hassell (trumpet, no effects except for reverb). With the release of this disc would it be too early to ask where’s the next one?

Chas Smith – Aluminum Overcast
(Cold Blue Music CB0007)

Composer Chas Smith is back with another disk of music using his unique home made instruments. I hear bowed metal resulting in a swell of droning harmonics, resonant gongs being hit with the resulting splash of overtones. Textures range from satisfying beautiful dissonant drones to slowly moving percussion sections where time stands still. Just the right amount of reverb makes one feel as if they’re inside a vast cave or hall of mirrors. Just like the Rick Cox disk, I find myself wondering when the next one is coming out.

Richard Lainhart – Ten Thousand Shades of Blue
(Experimental Intermedia XI 115)

Ten Thousand Shades of Blue is a two CD collection of Richard Lainhart’s (mostly) electronic music. On the disk one is the thick textures of two long drone compositions: Bronze Cloud Disk (1975, for multi-tracked, processed bowed tam-tam) and Two Mirrors Face One Another (1976, for multi-tracked, processed bowed Japanese temple bells). Disk two brings us a few years into the future with Cities of Light (1980, for multi-tracked, processed voice), sounding like the timeless chanting of Tibetan Monks slowed down. By 1985, Lainhart had started to use computers in his compositions. Ten Thousand Shades of Blue (1985, for real time interactive computer music system) is not as static as the previous compositions on this collection, pitches fade in and out in this electronic landscape. Staring at the Moon (1987, for real time interactive computer music system with bowed and struck vibraphone) and Walking Slowly Backwards (1989, for vibraphone) are both fairly laid back affairs, concentrating on the beautiful sound of the vibraphone. This disk easily wins a place on my 2001 best of list.

David Beardsley
November 2001

Originally reviewed for Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter 60.

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