loadbang: Plays Well With Others


loadbang’s third release on New Focus, “Plays well with others,” is a celebration of a community of artists with a shared sensibility. The voice and winds quartet is joined here by string players in works by Taylor Brook, Reiko Füting, Paula Matthusen, Heather Stebbins, Scott Wollschleger, and Eve Beglarian.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 66:49
03You See Where This is Going
You See Where This is Going
04Mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest
Mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest
06Such is Now the Necessity
Such is Now the Necessity

On their third release with New Focus, loadbang (Jeff Gavett, baritone; Andrew Kozar, trumpet; William Lang, trombone; Adrian Sandi, clarinet) reaches beyond their idiosyncratic quartet instrumentation to collaborate with a string ensemble. loadbang has cultivated a kind of symbiotic instrumental organism, with the three winds breathing and uttering with Gavett’s oratorical baritone. The approaches to the extended ensemble on this recording that composers Taylor Brook, Reiko Füting, Paula Matthusen, Heather Stebbins, Scott Wollschleger, and Eve Beglarian take are varied and fascinating, keeping the four headed creature that is the core of loadbang at the center while using the strings to provide a sonic environment, commentary, and an expanded sound palette.

Plays Well With Others opens with Taylor Brook’s Tarantism in which he sets 16th and 17th century Italian texts on curing the ills resulting from a tarantula bite (this practice was the origin of the tarantella). Brook establishes loadbang as the musician/doctor, with Gavett providing a mix of dramatic narrative context, specific procedural instructions for treatment, and incantations. Meanwhile the strings are assigned the role of the afflicted party. We hear waves of pain and disorientation in dense dissonant string harmonies, the frenzy of ritualistic dancing in cathartic tutti gestures, and the weariness of post-treatment in undulating, creaking harmonics in the work’s final passage.

On Riven, Heather Stebbins weaves together discarded material from past projects, creating something new and cohesive. Stebbins integrates electronics into the wide ranging timbral texture in such a way that the boundary between man-made and computer generated is blurry. The work opens with a series of punctuated exhalations from which a captivating series of sounds from the core quartet spills out before being reinforced by the strings. If Brook established a dichotomy between the four voices in loadbang and the strings to serve a narrative purpose, Stebbins strives to expand the hybrid instrument to include the new sounds within one dynamic organism. Riven journeys through fragile, fricative sounds, poignant sighs in the strings, and tightly woven electro-acoustic mechanisms.

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In her You See Where This is Going, Eve Beglarian sets a text by Brendan Constantine that investigates the dissonance between the names of things and their essence. Percolating pizzicati in the strings set up chordal sonorities in the winds to close the brief phrases, while Gavett sings melismatic lines. As the piece evolves, those roles reverse, with more sustained harmonies in the strings and the loadbang winds rearticulating the final notes of their gestures as if they are stuttering. The work closes with a more elegiac passage, as the ensemble supports Gavett’s mysterious delivery of Constantine’s final lines: “you imagine hiding when the world finds out you’re not who you’ve said.”

Reiko Füting’s music integrates quotation, evocative non-pitched sounds, and visceral gestures into a texture that develops material through repetition with variation. The title of mo(nu)ment for C/palimpsest refers to sculptures by American artist Dan Flavin, while the whispered texts consist of three fragments: “Je suis,” “Ich bin,” and “I am.” The piece was written in reaction to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo publication in 2015. A gradually accumulating introductory texture grows from rhythmic whispers into multi-timbral mechanisms, as Füting uses the strings to provide coloristic harmonic support and imitative gestural material. The subtle evolution of each gesture through repeated cells creates a meditative atmosphere, a chance to contemplate the many angles of “I am.”

Scott Wollschleger’s CVS is also a meditation, this time on the way in which the commercial forum for disseminating information can flatten divergent meaning. Concepts like “CVS,” “There’s been a terrorist attack,” and “Cool graphics,” can consequently occupy the same space in our minds. Gavett intones “CVS” as a kind of mantra, albeit a palliative one, turning the three letters around and mining them for multiple shades of tone by manipulating the emphasis and vocal inflection. While the words “CVS” and “There’s been a terrorist attack” seem to occupy a similar disembodied expressive space, it is the phrase “Cool graphics” that receives the grandeur of majestic octaves in the ensemble.

The final work on the album, Paula Matthusen’s Such is Now the Necessity, takes full advantage of the expanded sonorous potential of the loadbang plus strings format. Layered, overlapping lines create expansive harmonies evocative of Renaissance polyphony heard in a church whose long reverb tail creates unexpected verticalities. Midway through the work, the wind articulations shorten into passages of enlivened repeated notes and the strings play flowing passagework, creating a heroic antiphonal dialogue that surrounds Gavett’s soaring vocal line.

– Dan Lippel

Ryan Streber, recording engineer and producer

Alex Eckman-Lawn, album art and design

All works recorded at Oktaven Audio in Mt. Vernon, NY on February 28, 2020 and October 28-30, 2021


New York City-based new music chamber group loadbang is building a new kind of music for mixed ensemble of trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice. Since their founding in 2008, they have been praised as ‘cultivated’ by The New Yorker, ‘an extra-cool new music group’ and ‘exhilarating’ by the Baltimore Sun, ‘inventive’ by the New York Times and called a 'formidable new-music force' by TimeOutNY. Their unique lung-powered instrumentation has provoked diverse responses from composers, resulting in a repertoire comprising an inclusive picture of composition today. In New York City, they have been recently presented by and performed at Miller Theater, Symphony Space, MATA and the Avant Music Festival; on American tours at Da Camera of Houston, Rothko Chapel, and the Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State University; and internationally at Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), China-ASEAN Music Week (China) and Shanghai Symphony Hall (China).

loadbang has premiered more than 250 works, written by members of the ensemble, emerging artists, and today's leading composers. Their repertoire includes works by Pulitzer Prize winners David Lang and Charles Wuorinen; Rome Prize winners Andy Akiho and Paula Matthusen; and Guggenheim Fellow Alex Mincek. Not content to dwell solely in the realm of notated music, loadbang is known for its searing and unpredictable improvisations, exploring the edges of instrumental and vocal timbre and technique, and blurring the line between composed and extemporaneous music. To this end, they have embarked on a project to record improvisations and improvised works written by members of the ensemble. These recordings are designed, fabricated, and released in hand-made limited editions. loadbang can also be heard on a 2012 release of the music by John Cage on Avant Media Records, a 2013 release of the music of loadbang member Andy Kozar titled 'On the end...' on ANALOG Arts Records which was called ‘virtuosic’ by The New Yorker, a 2014 release on ANALOG Arts Records titled Monodramas, a 2015 release on New Focus Recordings titled LUNGPOWERED which was called ‘new, confident, and weird’ by I Care If You Listen and 'an album of quietly complex emotions' by The New Yorker, and a 2017 Bridge Records release titled Charles Wuorinen, Vol. 3, featuring the music of Charles Wuorinen.

loadbang is dedicated to education and cultivation of an enthusiasm for new music. They have worked with students ranging from elementary schoolers in the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers program and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids Program to college aged student composers at institutions including Columbia University, Cornell University, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Peabody Conservatory, Princeton University, University of Buffalo, and Yale University. They are in residence at the Charlotte New Music Festival, the Longy School of Music's summer program Divergent Studio, and all four members are on the instrumental and chamber music faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston.


Eduardo Leandro

Eduardo Leandro teaches percussion at Stony Brook University in new York, where he is also the artistic director of its new music ensemble, the Contemporary Chamber Players. He taught at the Haute École de Musique de Genève and directed the percussion program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst between 1999 and 2007. He has conducted some of the most important pieces of the twentieth century, including Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Chamber Symphony, Ligeti’s Piano and Chamber Concertos, Messiaen’s Exotic Birds, Xenakis’ Palimpsest, Boulez’s Derives I, and several premieres for mixed ensemble.

As a percussionist Eduardo Leandro has performed with ensembles such as the Steve Reich Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Bang-on-a-Can All Starts. He is part of the Percussion Duo Contexto, which was an ensemble in residence at the Centre Internacional de Percussion in Geneva for ten years. He played regularly with Ensemble Champ d'Action in Belgium, with Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and with Ensemble Contrechamps in Switzerland, under the direction of Pierre Boulez, Heinz Holliger, and David Robertson among others.

Eduardo Leandro was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He attended the Sao Paulo State University, the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, and Yale University, having studied percussion with John Boudler, Jan Pustjens, and Robert van Sice.



Vital Weekly

This is Loadbang's third release on NFR. They are a Quartet of baritone, trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. No, there is no omission in this list, it's just 'baritone' - as in 'baritone vocals'. Now, seeing this is more than a bit unusual, so is their music. I can think of few examples,
where spoken word or classical singing are mixed with instrumentals. A dissonant John Adams comes to mind, or a more melodic Jean-Louis Costes. So we get the whole bandwidth of vocal contributions, from declamation (of Costes-like texts), to classical singing to scat-like phrases, to just using your voice for something. This is a highly interesting feature of the music, although the texts somewhat get in the way of enjoying the music - you do notice they are from New York and gory stories seem to suit them well. What is more unusual - and highly effective - is the use of a string ensemble as 'backing orchestra'. Instead of the new music 'dropping of a sound here and there', with an unnerving interest in 'micro sounds', here comes the New Symphonic, bundling up Loadbang's brass with a glorious string backing. Although flowing in and out (for one, to allow the speaker to be heard, but secondly to build and re-build tension), there is a distinct orchestral note to this music that I very
much like and miss with many of the contemporary composers. Pieces composed by Taylor Brook, Reiko Füting, Paula Matthusen, Heather Stebbins, Scott Wollschleger, and Eve Beglarian are offered here. Stebbins' piece is closest to the 'sound dripping' (pun intended), the Brook and Matthausen pieces start and conclude the CD with the orchestral feel, whereas the other tracks cover the mid-ground, with Füting being the one that brings memories of Jaap Blonk, the vocals (and instruments) used to explore the hiss of breath, and Wollschleger combining this with scat and narration. If you do not find narration a distraction to music listening, this will certainly deliver an expansion of conventional listening to you.

— RSW, 9.14.2021



If the sound of Mellits’ works tends to the monochromatic, that of the works played by loadbang (no capital letter – a typical affectation in the avant-garde) is intended to go to the opposite extreme. The quartet includes baritone, trumpet, trombone and clarinet – certainly a very unusual sound combination. And on a recent New Focus Recordings release, these four sounds are joined by those of strings (a chamber ensemble including six violins, three violas, two cellos and double bass) to extend the aural palette. The six works here, by six different composers, are very different in many ways – but the underlying similarity among them is that their preoccupation with using the specific sound combinations made available by loadbang results in music that draws more attention to how it sounds than to what it says. Taylor Brook’s Tarantism actually does this effectively, offering narration consisting of English versions of 16th- and 17th-century Italian texts about tarantula bites and their treatment. The dissonance of the sound picture mixes with rhythmic dancing – tarantula reactions are the source of the tarantella – as the story moves toward eventual exhaustion. Heather Stebbins’ Riven adds electronics to the mixture of loadbang and strings to create a sound world that is dense, often to the point of impenetrability, but not particularly revelatory of anything. Eve Beglarian’s You See Where This Is Going should beware of its title, because anyone who has sampled contemporary music will indeed see where this mixture of vocal gymnastics and largely arbitrary instrumental interjections is going: toward a kind of portentousness that does not lead up to anything particularly significant or moving. The most-peculiar title of a work here – another avant-garde affectation – is that of Reiko Füting’s mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest (ah, yes, no capital letter at the start of the complexly punctuated title). Whispered verbal fragments and standard outbursts from both voice and instruments (individual and grouped) create a soundscape of no particular direction or import – and the work continues in this vein for 13 minutes. It is, however, not as long as Scott Wollschleger’s 17-minute CVS, which uses intonation of the drugstore chain’s name and other, very different phrases to create an extended soundscape in which everything said, everything played, seems at the same level as everything else – which appears to be the point. The point of Paula Matthusen’s Such Is Now the Necessity seems to be to contrast long sonic lines with short ones and staccato material with legato, overlaying everything on everything else to create sound that accumulates rather than actually building into anything structural. Only Brook’s Tarantism, driven as it is by audible narrative, goes beyond the purely aural effects to which loadbang is clearly devoted to produce a work that seems to have something to say beyond “listen!” Of course, the point of music is to listen, but the reason for listening matters: if the only purpose of doing so is to hear sonic combinations, then music, however carefully constructed, offers nothing worth hearing again – after the novelty of the sound exploration has worn off.

— Mark Estren, 9.23.2021


Pandora's Looking Glass

‘Plays Well With Others’ is, of course, how one might enthuse about a new child finding its feet on entering a new school, and it’s an apt title for loadbang’s latest release, a series of challenging and often playful contemporary works celebrating unusual works for an unusual line-up.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest by Reiko Fueting, a work which plays with fragments of speech, shuffling sibilants, all underscored by a pointillist ensemble texture that shivers with nervous energy against a backdrop of soft strings. The three speech-fragments – ‘Je suis,’ ‘Ich bin,’ ‘I am’ – are affirmations of self, of identity, contradicted by the restless musical texture beneath which refuses to settle. Any moments where the instruments are able to come together are fleeting, soon evaporating back to the breathless fluttering speech-sounds. Written in reference to the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in 2015, the piece hums with an anxiety that is constantly pulling the piece together whilst simultaneously pushing it apart. Eventually, the piece concludes with a hovering chord reminiscent of a train passing, and it’s the voice that has the final utterance, fading into silence as though there’s nothing more to say.

Latterly, the strings try to introduce moments that alert ears will identify as by Bach and Barber. There’s a sense in which the three disparate textures – wind, voices, strings – are trying to find a way of coming together, of playing well together. Do they manage it ? Up to you…

— Dan Harding, 9.27.2021


Take Effect Reviews

On their 3rd release for the New Focus label, loadbang. i.e. Jeff Gavett (baritone), Andew Kozar (trumpet), William Lang (trombone) and Adrian Sandi (clarinet) are in the company of a string ensemble as they interpret the works of 5 different composers on this very distinct and compelling listen.

Taylor Brook’s Tarantism starts the listen with a setting that goes back to the 16th and 17th century, where Gavett’s narration suits the dissonance, abrupt strings and atypical harmonics, and this creativity continues to the playfully ambient and odd electronics of Riven, where the 11 minutes shifts with timbre manipulation in the Heather Stebbins composition.

In the middle, Eve Beglarian’s You See Where This Is Going pairs plucky strings with bright clarinet amid soaring baritone vocals, while mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest turns repetition into a refined art form as quivering instrumentation and unpredictable vocal gestures provide much intrigue.

Approaching the end, CVS, by Scott Wollschleger, offers a meditative quality, where he addresses how information is distributed, and allows the strategic minimalism to convey this, and Such Is Now The Necessity exits the listen with the most dense track, where sublime layering and charming reverb accent Gavett’s vocal acrobatics.

These New York City innovators have been plugging away since 2008, and Plays Well With Others sees them continuing their atypical version of contemporary ensemble dynamics with unparalleled meticulousness and a vision that few others will ever be able to replicate.

— Tom Haugen, 10.24.2021


The Whole Note

The brass and woodwind ensemble, loadbang, explores what appears to the harmonious nature of humanity on Plays Well With Others, aptly titled because the quartet is expanded, joined in this odyssey by a 12-person string section plus piano. The result is an extravagantly sumptuous sound-world. The airy sculpting of this music by the horns dwells in an exquisitely dramatic recitation by Jeffery Gavett together with Andy Kozar (trumpet), William Lang (trombone) and Adrian Sandi (bass clarinet), and orchestral accompaniment. Loadbang performs this avant-garde repertoire with architectural authority and elegant rhetoric. There are ink-dark, gossamer whispers and deep growls on Taylor Brook’s Tarantism and the work progresses with long-limbed elegance, as if spinning a beguiling web with the (principal) tarantula character. Riven, by Heather Stebbins, pulsates with appropriate irregularity before it shatters along its elliptical harmonic grain. Eve Beglarian’s You See Where This is Going, with its narration of a surreal poem, sees strings, piano and horns entwining until the work is twisted into a powerful musical edifice. Reiko Füting’s Mo(nu)ment for C/ Palimpsest returns us to the dark world of terrorism made more sinister by the hushed performance. Scott Wollschleger’s CVS offers another sinister take on socio-political extremism. All of this leads to the dynamic sound-palette of Paula Matthusen’s Such Is Now the Necessity – a most appropriate finale to this hypnotic repertoire. Anyone reacting well to the mystery and surprise of music will certainly take this disc to heart.

— Raul da Gama, 12.15.2021


Opera America

LOADBANG IS A CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE consisting of four musicians—baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet and trombone. They have a long and very successful track record, commissioning pieces by numerous composers and performing on several recordings. loadbang has also been quite active in music education and as proponents of free improvisation. Plays Well with Others, their third recording for New Focus, features six works cocommissioned with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.

The recording opens with Tarantism (2016) by Taylor Brook, an unusual work in which the composer ruminates on Italian folk remedies for a tarantula bite. He presents written accounts of actual treatments from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as an opinion on the health values derived from physical motion. The gist of the treatments was to make patients dance for extended periods of time with ever-increasing frenzy until they collapsed, at which point they would be immersed in a tub of tepid water and heavily bled. (The tarantella derives from these treatments.) The four musicians of loadbang represent the medical treatment, while the string orchestra depicts the suffering of the patient. The text is partly narrated, partly sung. I was surprised that Brook did not overtly employ one of the rhythmic patterns associated with the traditional tarantella, but I can also see how that might have distracted from his larger expressive intentions. The music is quite effective in a haunting, and largely atonal, milieu.

Riven (2020) by Heather Stebbins was derived from materials left over from several of her previous projects. The intent is to combine and refine these various musical snippets into a coherent whole. Many of Stebbins’s works involve electronics, as does this one. There is no text, per se. Instead, the singer performs various phonemes and vocal sounds, much in character with the extended techniques employed by the rest of the ensemble. There are many unusual sounds, but unfortunately I couldn’t perceive a unifying thread.

Eve Beglarian’s You See Where This Is Going (2019) is a lively and entertaining work, a largely spoken- word setting of a poem by Brendan Constantine in which he discusses the naming of things, particularly flowers, but also delves into the ambiguities of identity itself and the foibles of the human condition. Beglarian is well-versed in many compositional techniques, including chromaticism. She based the music here in part on procedures she relates to an equation by an eighteenth-century mathematician, but the piece doesn’t sound calculated. From its energetic, pizzicato-dominated opening through its world-weary conclusion, it offers a lively interpretation of Constantine’s sardonic text.

Reiko Füting contributed mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest. Written in 2015, the piece is a reaction to the murderous attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo earlier that year. The text consists just of “Je suis,” “Ich bin” and “I am,” recalling the defiant slogan “Je suis Charlie” that went viral following the attack. The singer presents these words in various combinations and inflections; the musical aspect remains static but holds the listener’s attention.

CVS (2018/20) by Scott Wollschlager is a long meditation on the way consumerism, Internet culture and the media’s twenty-four-hour news cycle have impacted how we live in and perceive our world. Like Füting’s contribution, CVS’s entire text consists of just three utterances—“CVS,” “There’s been a terrorist attack” and “Cool graphics.” Whereas the first two are presented as a floating soup of musical and enunciative variations, “Cool graphics” is presented as a coda, featuring open octaves and fifths in the instrumental aspect. Wollschleger adds a modest but colorful piano part to the work, played well by Steve Beck. I particularly enjoyed the closing chord, which sounds quite a bit like one Bernard Herrmann frequently employed on The Twilight Zone.

The recording concludes with a stunning work by Paula Matthusen, Such Is Now the Necessity. This colorful piece opens in a sound world that incorporates various stylings. The text either consists of made up words or is in a language entirely unknown to me. In its later sections, the music adapts a pentatonic scale that recalls the pelog mode in gamelan music. The ending is quite powerful, with baritone Jeffrey Gavett singing a sweeping, euphoric melodic line over impassioned instrumental music. I wish that Matthusen had not been so humble in her program note, as it would have been helpful to know the meaning behind her work’s title, the words/syllables being sung or even the date of its composition. Regardless, it’s a striking work that brings this eclectic and inspired album to a satisfying conclusion. Throughout, the four musicians of loadbang and the string orchestra, under the fine leadership of conductor Eduardo Leandro, perform with accomplished excellence, passion and amazing flexibility. I very much recommend this disc, especially to fans of experimental music and to listeners with adventurous tastes.

— Arlo McKinnon, 1.07.2022



The radical gestures of the avant-garde long ago became the everyday vocabulary of with-it composers, especially those who achieve a high profile in contemporary music. But the avant-garde also embodies an attitude, or rather a cluster of attitudes that embrace defiance, social criticism, nihilism, exhibitionism, anger, borderline madness, sexual difference, and rebellion. That whole cluster came to mind while listening to this abrasive and disruptive new release by the Brooklyn-based quartet loadbang. Every attempt has been made to exclude the music-loving listener, in pieces that feel like chaos with personality. The coolness of the idiom comes from its opaqueness.

The instrumentation of loadbang is unique to itself: trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and a baritone singer. Such is the vibrancy of the Brooklyn scene that since its inception in 2008, the group has premiered 375 works ranging from improvisations, notated or otherwise, by members of loadbang, pieces by rising artists, and works by established composers (none of whose names I recognized). For this album an unnamed string orchestra collaborates in six pieces written for loadbang and strings; Steve Beck joins in to play piano in one work and electronics in another.

If the implicit aim here, as I see it, is to be as opaque as possible in order to shut out (or shut down) the conventional appreciation of music, it’s all too easy to retaliate by storming out, and Plays Well With Others comes close to wearing its banal title with a sneer. The program notes by the six composers are moreover a mixture of artspeak gibberish, pretension, and smugness. I feel I have to lay out these detriments before attempting to grapple with what the performances actually sound like.

They are like what the art world calls installations, a mélange of elements that create a space around them; as the viewer, or in this case the listener, you enter the space and experience it. In this way each work on the program doesn’t intend to be off-putting but something quite different. A soundscape is created, generally quite static, open to any response the listener happens to have. I responded very positively to Taylor Brooks’s Tarantism, which is based on old Italian texts about how to heal someone bitten by a tarantula. Baritone Jeffrey Gavett is given strangely captivating words to sing and narrate, in a virtuoso performance where the twitching strings stand for the afflicted victim. We get not only the suggestion of a tarantella but also much swooping, humming, and moaning. The focus created by the words and the solo singer keeps disorder in check. The overall result is a kind of dizzy monodrama I found very entertaining.

My worst response was to the self-absorbed pretensions of Mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest by Reiko Füting, whose maddening title is just the start of its deliberate obscurantism. The ground plan of the piece is simple: against a series of sliding single notes and simple chords, Gavett utters the words “I am,” “Je suis,” and “Ich bin” in varying insinuations and whining moods. As a kind of static installation this basic play on words might create an effect others wouldn’t find stupid. But I couldn’t swallow the declaration that these single notes quoted Bach, Mahler, Ives, and Barber, or that the whole farrago was in tribute to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris.

CVS by Scott Wollschleger presents itself as a kind of cryptic social commentary on a social media world deluged by trivia and mind-numbing overload. As speaker, Gavett repeats three phrases—“CVS,” “There’s been a terrorist attack,” and “Cool graphics”—which are verbal tokens for the composer’s attitudes. What begins as a nifty concept quickly turns numbing through repetition and lack of invention. The only positive stance to take (not that I was able to) is once again to feel that you have walked into a deliberately static sound installation.

The remaining three works don’t differ enough to reward the effort to describe them, since their effect is identical to what I’ve already described. To one degree or another they exemplify, and I suppose celebrate, the chaos with personality mentioned above. An ear accustomed to conventional musical values is likely to appreciate Paula Matthusen’s Such Is Now the Necessity, for which no program note is provided, simply because she creates a wall of sound that blooms with recognizable harmony.

Is this meant to be a divisive release that culls the in crowd from the dull normals? I’m pretty sure that something more inclusive was intended, so it is left to the individual listener to have a personal response, as always. But the scene from which Plays Well With Others springs has a cultural wall built around it that only the cognoscenti will be able to penetrate.

— Huntley Dent, 3.22.2022

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