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Music of Robert Carl: From Japan / Elizabeth Brown, shakuhachi; Katie Kennedy, cello; Bill Solomon, vibraphone; Sayun Chang, percussion

Audio Samples

>Carl, Robert : A Clean Sweep, for shakuhachi & fixed media
>Carl, Robert : Bullet Cycle, for 2 soloists, percussion & fixed media
>Carl, Robert : Brown Velvet, for bassoon & electronics
>Carl, Robert : Collapsible Mandala, electronics

Album Summary

>Carl, Robert : A Clean Sweep, for shakuhachi & fixed media
>Carl, Robert : Bullet Cycle, for 2 soloists, percussion & fixed media
>Carl, Robert : Brown Velvet, for bassoon & electronics
>Carl, Robert : Collapsible Mandala, electronics
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Robert Carl (b. 1954) has long been interested in Japanese music and culture, and in the spring of 2007 he received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to travel to Japan to interview Japanese composers between the ages of thirty and sixty - his contemporaries who he describes as the "post-Takemitsu" generation. Carl's perspective of the relationship between American and Japanese musical cultures was sharpened by his interaction with the composers he met in Japan, and he identifies three main aesthetic differences, all of which characterize the works included on this recording. "In Japan," Carl points out, there is "a far greater emphasis on perfection of individual sounds" and "a greater understanding of the role of silence, how it frames and highlights sound." He also notes that Japanese composers tend to conceive of polyphony as "an outgrowth of heterophony; hence there is one melodic line that generates both harmony and counterpoint." Another salient feature of Carl's works on this recording is a general sense of suspended time, which from a musical standpoint results from temporal frameworks that are not based on a pulse or governed by regular metric divisions. Instead, within clearly demarcated structures, individual musical gestures are propelled by a different passage of time, one that might be better understood in relation to physiological patterns (such as the heartbeat or the breath) or psychological markers of time (such as the rate of changing thoughts or moods). Ultimately, From Japan is much more than a sonic postcard or a souvenir of what Carl saw and heard while overseas - the works on this recording reflect his deep impression of how the mechanisms of history and humanity intermingle to create a sense of cultural and spiritual identity within an individual.

American Record Guide, November/December 2012
These works would be most effective for quiet meditation or as background to a sedate gathering. This is a trial for people who require more action.



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Works Details

>Carl, Robert : A Clean Sweep, for shakuhachi & fixed media
  • Performers: Robert Carl (Electronics); Elizabeth Brown (Shakuhachi)
  • Notes: Riverview Recording Studios, Gill, Massachusetts (06/26/2010/07/03/2010)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005

>Carl, Robert : Bullet Cycle, for 2 soloists, percussion & fixed media
  • Performers: Katie Kennedy (Cello); Robert Carl (Electronics); Bill Solomon (Vibraphone); Sayun Chang (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Carl, Robert : Brown Velvet, for bassoon & electronics
  • Performers: Ryan Hare (Bassoon); Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn (Laptop); Robert Carl (Electronics)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009-2010

>Carl, Robert : Collapsible Mandala, electronics
  • Performer: Robert Carl (Electronics)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2008-2009

>Carl, Robert : A Clean Sweep, for shakuhachi & fixed media
  • Performers: Robert Carl (Electronics); Robert Carl (Shakuhachi); Elizabeth Brown (Shakuhachi)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005