Album Remarks & Appraisals:
With cello lines that cast a "haunting, primordial arc" (New York Times), Ashley Bathgate channels Australian composer Kate Moore's vivid and lyrical themes of travel, love, sadness and beauty on Stories for Ocean Shells. In the true sense of a shared collaborative experience, the project's roots extend back to 2009, when Bathgate, then a new member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, met Moore during work on Moore's commissioned piece Ridgeway (included on the All-Stars' Big Beautiful Dark & Scary CD, released in 2012). "We're both rebels from an intense background playing the cello," Moore says, "and we both wanted to break out, with the aim to create something new that we could call our own. So this project is about tapping into that vast energy around us." Produced by Lawson White.
Liner Note Author: Kate Moore .
The title Stories for Ocean Shells may seem mysterious, but dive in and sample that work and you'll find it unusually appropriate to the music: composer Kate Moore writes music with clear structures that seem to break out into narrative of one kind or another. Cellist Ashley Bathgate, a member of New York's Bang on a Can ensemble, met Moore in 2009, and the pair has developed an ongoing collaboration. It shows in the solo pieces, which have a haunting atmosphere and easily evoke the extra-musical scenarios that are outlined in a few words in the booklet. Several have a strongly spiritual component that Bathgate conveys well. These pieces are entirely within the conventional capabilities of the cello, but perhaps most compelling are those where other instruments are added. In the final "Broken Rosary," Bachian figurations on the cello are surrounded with a variety of quasi-electronic effects from a pedal steel guitar, completely divorced from its Hawaiian and country origins. It's a simple yet original, completely compelling idea. Each of the six works just transmits strongly, and the whole is probably unlike anything you've heard before elsewhere. An intriguing meeting of the minds between a representative of New York's durable experimental scene and the world beyond. ~ James Manheim