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ClassicsOnline Home » REYNOLDS, Todd: Outerborough
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:
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 phased/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.
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.
Number 6 opens with pizz. delmore....
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REYNOLDS, Todd: Outerborough