loadbang: Quiver


loadbang releases their fourth album on New Focus, this time featuring centerpieces by Heather Stebbins and Chaya Czernowin as well as music by ensemble members Jeffrey Gavett and Andy Kozar. loadbang has amassed a voluminous repertoire for their unique instrumentation of baritone voice, trumpet, bass clarinet, and trombone.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Performer(s) Time
Total Time 64:24
06quis det ut
quis det ut

To Keep My Loneliness Warm

Andy Kozar
08Odd Behavior
Odd Behavior

loadbang’s newest release Quiver, their fourth on New Focus, features a collection of works commissioned from composer colleagues as well as music by three members, Jeffrey Gavett, Carlos Cordeiro, and Andy Kozar. The aesthetics represented display the broad range of territory loadbang commands, from finely integrated textures that blur where one instrument begins and the other ends, to individuated passages that revel in contrapuntal symbiosis.

Opening the album is Quinn Mason’s somber Aging, a setting of a text by Adam Lefaivre that meditates on getting older. The diatonic harmonies and a noticeable absence of extended techniques start the recording with an earnest quality. The vulnerability of the text is mirrored in its straightforward presentation. The ensemble reasserts its commitment to sonic experimentation immediately afterward, in Heather Stebbins’ bracing title track. Stebbins was deeply affected by a trip to a national park in Iceland, where she experienced landscapes shaped by the powerful geologic forces of tectonic plates grinding against each other. Quiver, while not attempting to translate those ideas into sound in a direct way, mines this paradigm for its sonic vocabulary. In Stebbins’ work, as in sensitive natural ecosystems, all the elements are interrelated, a click in the trumpet triggers a pop in the trombone, a breathy articulation in the clarinet catalyzes a sighing gesture in the voice.

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Poet Fernando Pessoa is the source of inspiration for Carlos Cordeiro’s Disquiet - not just his writing, but more specifically the speculation that he may have had multiple personality disorder. Cordeiro structures the work around these separate identities, as the ensemble shifts characters and ways of functioning internally. A geometric architecture of sonic pistons fires in the opening, leading into a fragile chorale of blended sonorities in the second section. The third section is unstable and manic, and the fourth features a cryptic text read responsively with disembodied accompaniment that gradually grows more and more unhinged.

In performances of Zong Yun We’s Flower, the members of the quartet are spread out through the venue, creating intentional ambiguity surrounding the source and location of the beguiling sounds in the score. Waves of pitch emerge from the composite purring texture established in the ensemble through non-pitched elements. The piece ends with an ethereal series of ascending scales, like light plumes of smoke trailing away into the atmosphere.

Both of loadbang baritone Jeffrey Gavett’s two works look to artists of the past for source material. Proverbial is a multi-language setting framed by an excerpt from English Romantic poet William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. In Blake’s recasting, Heaven is a repository for passive obeisance and Hell for energetic agency, and Gavett’s settings are relentless and severe, an auditory challenge to complacency. Using material from a Flemish Renaissance motet, Absalon fili mi, quis det ut layers upon itself like a complex palimpsest, echoes of the original motet heard through a distorting prism.

Andy Kozar’s two settings of short stories by Lydia Davis are musical examinations of the nature of communication. “Insomnia” places the vocal part at odds with the instrumentalists, especially the trombone, who consistently interrupts the text. The oscillating minor second and unison intervals that pervade the track capture the unsettling feeling of sleeplessness perfectly. In “Odd Behavior,” the instruments shadow the rhythm of the stuttering vocal part with chord clusters, eerily circling around the text phrases, drawing the listener inside the neurotic inner world of the protagonist.

Chaya Czernowin’s IRRATIONAL maximizes loadbang’s capacity to act as one hybrid instrumental organism, savoring select moments when the individual instruments split off and assert their individuality. Opening with a brief unison fanfare, Czernowin quickly neutralizes the pitch landscape by turning to a vocabulary of breath sounds and an unstable trumpet glissando, like the singing of a tea kettle left to boil. The unisons of the opening fanfare return (now transposed up a minor ninth) for a kinetic section of hocketed rhythms and articulations. The ensemble’s timbres are truly fused in subsequent sections of static, murky music featuring throat singing and growling clarinet multiphonics. IRRATIONAL comes full circle, ending on a disjunct passage of unisons passed through the group, the same pitch which opened the piece, now up an octave.

– Dan Lippel


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.


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