Various Artists – Steven Ricks: Assemblage Chamber (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:53 minutes | 833 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © New Focus Recordings
Composer Steven Ricks’ Assemblage Chamber features three chamber works that incorporate elements of the Baroque into Ricks’ glitchy, collage oriented textures. An eclectic artist who is active in electronic music and free improvisation in addition to through-composed acoustic work, Ricks filters Baroque influences through his omnivorous style, responding at the end of the recording with an electronic reaction piece, a reckoning with incorporating older material from the vantage point of 2022. Assemblage Chamber features performances by counter)induction, the NOVA Chamber Players, Aubrey Woods, Alex Woods, and Jason Hardink.
Deconstruction and fragmentation are core components of composer Steven Ricks’ work. On a previous New Focus Recordings release from 2015, Young American Inventions (FCR158), Ricks processed the detritus of the American aural landscape through his own modernist lens, designing glitchy electronic and ensemble textures, peppering them with quotes from disparate sources like Steely Dan, Steve Reich, and Milton Babbitt, and mixing them with shards of drum samples and automated call center style voices. On Assemblage Chamber, Ricks turns to the past, mining the juxtapositions, improvisatory spirit, and rich rhetorical framework of the Baroque. Ricks’ deconstructive impulse flowers and perhaps inverts itself in this context, extrapolating possibilities instead of picking them apart. With wit and a deft compositional hand, Ricks creates three ensemble works, two featuring the harpsichord, that use Baroque conventions as a springboard to reveal a prismatic version of its characteristic tropes. The album closes with the electronic title track, a piece that functions as a kind of reconciliation between Ricks’ journey into the musical past and an artistic voice more familiar to those who know his work.
1. Aubrey Woods, Alex Woods & Jason Hardink – Heavy with Sonata: I. Plotting Our Next (Dance) Move (01:44)
2. Aubrey Woods, Alex Woods & Jason Hardink – Heavy with Sonata: Ii. Sarah’s Gigabit Broadband (04:08)
3. Aubrey Woods, Alex Woods & Jason Hardink – Heavy with Sonata: Iii. I’ll Amend the Current Trend (05:30)
4. counter)induction – Reconstructing the Lost Improvisations of Aldo Pilestri (1683–1727) (14:18)
5. Nova Chamber Music Players – Piece for Mixed Quartet: I. Dance of Spheres (03:55)
6. Nova Chamber Music Players – Piece for Mixed Quartet: Ii. Baroque Assemblage (03:53)
7. Steven Ricks – Assemblage Chamber (12:22)