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Todd Reynolds: Outerborough

> A Needle Pulling Fred - A Needle Pulling Fred
> Tree-Oh - Tree-Oh
> Inward Bound - Inward Bound
> Crossroads - Crossroads
> and the sky was still there - and the sky was still there
> Fast Pasture - Fast Pasture
> Storm Drain - Storm Drain
> The End of an Orange - The End of an Orange
> Killer - Killer

Album Summary

>Reynolds, Todd : Transamerica, for voice, vocal percussion, violin, electric guitar & samples
>Reynolds, Todd : The Solution, for violin & samples
>Reynolds, Todd : End of Day, for viola
>Reynolds, Todd : Taskforce
>Reynolds, Todd : Centrifuge, for electronic stringed instrument
>Reynolds, Todd : Outerborough, for vocals, violin & kick drum
>Reynolds, Todd : Icy Sleeves of Green, for violin, octave violin & electric bass
>Kline, Phil : A Needle Pulling Fred, for violin
>Gordon, Michael : Tree-Oh, for violin
>de Jong, Paul : Inward Bound, for violin & cello
>Lowenstern, Michael : Crossroads, for violin
>Little, David T. : And the Sky Was Still There, for violin, samples & electronics
>Zammuto, Nick : Fast Pasture, for violin
>Thomson, Ken : Storm Drain, for violin & bass clarinet
>Matthusen, Paula : The End of an Orange, for voice & violin
>Lang, David : Killer, for violin & electronics
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Todd Reynolds is one of the founding fathers of the hybrid musician movement. Creating acoustic-electronica in real-time with a violin and laptop onstage, his sound mixes borrowed and home-brewed, avant and pop, jazz and classical. "A daredevil musician" (The New Yorker), his evolution is marked by long-time associations with Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, Bang on a Can, and ETHEL, the string quartet he co-founded in 1999. Now comes his first solo album, a 2-CD set that reveals him as both a composer and one of the most sought-after interpreters of contemporary music.



Reviews

Todd Reynolds / Outerborough/ Innova
This two CD set revolves around the musical exploits of one insanely talented fiddler/composer, Todd Reynolds. The first CD is just his music; the second is Reynolds performing mostly NYC composers. First of all, it’s great to get my hands on the 1st CD, as there has been so much buzz! Reynolds is definitely part of the new generation of post-post-minimalist but there is a kind of deeply intuitive, uber-musicality going on here that sets him apart from his peers. I love the pan-diatonic openness, warmth, and generosity usually found in jazzers like Pat Metheny or Keith Jarrett –it’s completely disarming. Reynolds’ heart is all over this CD—this is no composer/mathematician working out his angst-ridden reason for being. This is a very solid performer/composer expressing himself in the most direct way possible. Let me give you an overview about what all the fuss is about: Track 1.Transamerica The influence here is electronica and minimalism-, but this is no namby-pamby groove. It’s very metered electronica with Stravinsky-like shocking inserts. In using a limited amount of material in as many ways as possible, it brings tremendous focus to the music. Of course, it helps that his fiddle playing is scorchingly hot with impeccable intonation, rhythm, and phrasing. All the way through the acoustic element is in perfect balance with the electronics. 2 The Solution It starts with pizz. canons/delays and a very simple modal progression. Polytonal sustain strings enter reminiscent of Reich’s string writing (It is also vaguely reminiscing of a Matt McBain CD I reviewed recently). What follows is stereoized arco chords followed by thick, pan diatonic chords which are seriously drop-dead beautiful. Overtop is some very cool Kreisleresque solo violin improv, with constant great jazz detailing in the harmonic writing. The ending involves a pizz. return of the opening with some gorgeous stereo imaging. 3. End of Day Here a renaissance progression is repeated with extremely even bowing. This guy is no sloth as a musician. This soon becomes a theme and variations, again with nice jazz harmonies tossed in at the end of phrases. Gradually the material gets phase/ delayed creating a beautiful, Lassus-like, eastern European, spiritual, minimalism. 4. Task force More amazingly sharp, detailed, colorful playing featuring jette, pizz trems, harmonics and some very heart-felt grooves. The playing is very assured, with very subtle use of electronics. This reminds me a bit of Reich electronic remixes; only here the music is more fluid, less canonic, cookie-cutterish. It just flows seamlessly from one section to the next. 5. Centrifuge This piece is slightly faster, complete with a head one usually associates with death metal. Reading the liner notes this piece was written for a guitarbot(!!) And as I’m reading, it’s great the way the piece gradually starts to sound like Deep South blues in very slow motion. 6.Outerbouough Number 6 opens with pizz. delay and right away has a NYC subway feel ---you can hear this without even reading the liner notes. There’s a real lightness, transparence and unclutteredness in the writing. Eventually more great solo playing emerge overtop. Although it’s more in the trance minimalist bin (it’s music for video), there are lots of coloristic delicacies to sink ones’ ears into. The percussive sounds are very fresh –they have a homemade crispness. 7. Sleeves of Green Great groove harmonics open the track followed by nice explorations of the violin timbres. Overlade on top lots of backwards violin while Green Sleeves acts as the cantus firmus. He’s also never afraid to get a groove on. The second CD could never live up to the musical onslaught of the first, even though it’s resplendent with better-known composers. 1. A needle pulling thread /Phil Kline The Cantus firmus is in canon with Webernesque pauses articulating the structure. This folds into a nice electronica, dark groove. In the later harmonized version of the cantus fimus, there is a fresh use of chromaticism and overlapping textures. This is a cool spin on classical music meets minimalism meets electroinca. The beautiful bass progression towards the end opens to high tremelo strings. 2. Tree-oh /Michael Gordon. By far my favorite piece on he 2nd CD, Gordon presents a kind of renaissance progression beautifully distorted with cross rhythms—both written and by using delay or overdubbing. As usual, Gordon’s material is very stark and sparse with lots of surprise modulations. A kind of intense hypnotic minimalism ensues. Gradually the music seems to be physically lurch from side to side in its’ Andriessenesque starkness. It feels/sounds like going down in an airplane during extreme turbulence. His music has a way of attacking the listeners whole being, so the more sensitive individuals beware. And stay away from drugs also! 3. Inward Bound /Paul De Jong The 3rd track is something completely different –simple, child-like glockenspiel, toy piano, Biork-like electronics. There’s a beautiful overlay of violin on top. Throughout a lot of sensitivity to color, intertwined with a pop sensibility (except for all the gorgeous detail). 4. Crossroad /Michael Lawenstern Here the composer uses a blues sample not unlike Moby. Overtop is some very authentic Appalachian fiddle playing. Then a serious Pop ride and kick enter, while Reynolds does some very hip improv overtop. 5. And the sky was still there /David T. Little Little’s piece opens with some cool progression in the fender Rhodes, while a political narrative unfolds overtop. It’s not my place to comment on this powerful jab at the military industrial complex, but musically it’s evenly marked, metered bar lengths phrasing, while Reynolds does some amazing distorted flanging overtop. Cool piece! 6. Fast pasture /Nick Zammuto Retro Electronic!! An old moog bubbles with all kinds of modulating patches inserted, while Reynolds is doubling 16th note sequenced/arpeggiated lines on top. There’s something very nostalgic about the writing –when electronic music sounded like, well, electronic music. One really odd thing—there are environmental wind and bird noises in the background throughout the piece. Hilarious and very weird. 7. Storm Drain /Ken Thomson Number 7 is for bass clarinet and violin and opens with a simple pizz. pattern and with a Quaker-like harmonic accompaniment. This is very much the most conservative piece on the CD. 8. The end of an Organge /Paula Mauthusen It starts with text, then humming over top, much in the ‘stile Oliveros/ Monk /Anderson’. There’s a kind of whimsy one associates with women composers, in that it’s more theater than music—it’s more about the moment than composition process. 9. Killer /David Lang The final piece is a metered, distorted, harmonic progression accompanied by interlocking, arpeggiated, distortion on violin. The complexities of the interlocking never really goes anywhere but this compositional decision is seminal to a lot of Lang’s work. There is always a still, non-momentum quality in Lang’s music, not unlike a dark period Rothko or all period Franz Kline. This 2nd CD has a very broad range of post-minimalist composers—to the point some are clearly not post minimalist composers. There are some real gems on here –pick and choose. It’s also never clear, in the recording sessions, where Reynolds’ chops begin and the composer ends.
Submitted on 06/24/11 by Mike Maguire 
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Works Details

>Reynolds, Todd : Transamerica, for voice, vocal percussion, violin, electric guitar & samples
  • Performers: Kid Beyond (Voice); Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : The Solution, for violin & samples
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : End of Day, for viola
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Viola)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : Taskforce :: Farmlab, for voice & violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : Centrifuge, for electronic stringed instrument
  • Running Time: 3 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : Outerborough, for vocals, violin & kick drum
  • Performers: Todd Reynolds (Violin); Todd Reynolds (Drum)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Reynolds, Todd : Icy Sleeves of Green, for violin, octave violin & electric bass
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Kline, Phil : A Needle Pulling Fred, for violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Gordon, Michael : Tree-Oh, for violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>de Jong, Paul : Inward Bound, for violin & cello
  • Performers: Paul de Jong (Cello); Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Lowenstern, Michael : Crossroads, for violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Little, David T. : And the Sky Was Still There, for violin, samples & electronics
  • Performers: David Little (Programming); David Little (Electronics); Amber Ferenz; Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Zammuto, Nick : Fast Pasture, for violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Thomson, Ken : Storm Drain, for violin & bass clarinet
  • Performers: Ken Thomson (Clarinet); Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Matthusen, Paula : The End of an Orange, for voice & violin
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Lang, David : Killer, for violin & electronics
  • Performer: Todd Reynolds (Violin)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary