Scott Wollschleger’s debut music. This remarkable recording features performances by soprano Corrine Byrne, trumpeter Andy Kozar, violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, cellist John Popham, pianist Karl Larson, Mivos Quartet, and Longleash trio.
White Wall is a piece of extraordinary sonic delicacy that serves as the understated focus of the album. The album’s other compositions…give more evidence of a composer who can extract the expressive maximum from minimal musical means.
It’s rare that you hear such command of structure and orchestration in any idiom… Brontal Symmetry has wit, melody, and plenty of spice, doled out in digestible bits… Far from an aberration, this album is the sound of someone firmly planting their flag at a thrilling elevation. More, please.
Composer Scott Wollschleger’s new album, Soft Aberration, is, on its surface, about as fresh and singular a new-music album as I’ve heard this year: on the one hand, Wollschleger draws on a spate of extended techniques and gestures that all sound thoroughly of the present. At the same time, there’s something elemental and profound at work, too, in this collection of five chamber pieces, and that intangible quality lends these pieces (and this disc) its expressive weight…There’s much to admire here, technically, from John Popham’s flickering intensity in America to the subtle shades of light and shadow Mivos teases out of White Wall to the sumptuous warmth pianist Karl Larson and violist Anne Lanzilotti bring to Soft Aberration….But it’s those touchingly expressive moments that leave the biggest impact – in Brontal Symmetry and Bring Something, especially. Those elevate this album and cement Wollschleger’s place
This is an album that feels like a single, expansive work, and yet it is a work in which each part also comes across as a whole, like exploring the reflection of the surrounding room in the complex surface of a cut and polished gemstone; each surface reveals a new perspective that cannot be experienced within the room itself, but only through its reflection … In Wollschleger’s work it seems the listener is fully integrated into the creative process. There is no illusion, no curtain to pull aside or opaque, structural tropes to decode that are propped up by dense and overly articulated program notes. Nonetheless, the potential for ever increasing meaning feels limitless. Wollschleger’s stark honesty is approachable but deceptively simple and possessed of many, immeasurable (and some undetectable) dimensions. Rather than falling from above and condescending from some pedestal of intellectual vanity, these magical works rise holistically out of a more primal space and carry the listener with them as their petals unfurl and their flowers bloom over the dark, reflective pool of Wollschleger’s deeply profound imagination.
The music of Scott Wollschleger can be as difficult, or easy, as the listener wants it to be. As evidenced by Soft Aberration (New Focus Recordings), the first collection of his work, the composer isn’t afraid of making listenable music; it often moves quite slowly, but more often than not it moves quite beautifully. At the same time, the rhythms and shifting structures he employs will trigger the ear of the focused head-nodder.
Nu classical music that is left leaning while not being pots and pans music…Echoing crime jazz with 80s EDM with sinister sounding stuff and more, you can easily hear stuff here turning up in the soundtrack of a indie, urban crime/action pic for chase scenes. Nu stuff for nu ears, the masters of the past are going to have to make room for this nu cat elbowing his way in. Check it out.
All music composed by Scott Wollschleger, published by Project Schott New York (BMI).
The music on track 2 is published under the title Soft Aberration no. 2.
Tracks 3, 5, and 8 are published as a single continuous composition without movement breaks.
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 were recorded between October 2014 – November 2016 at Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, NY.
Tracks 6 and 7 were recorded May 12 at Sear Sound, New York, NY.
Recording engineer: Ryan Streber
Editing, Mixing, and Mastering: Ryan Streber, Hans Hsu, Anne Lanzilotti, and Scott Wollschleger
Produced by: Anne Lanzilotti, Scott Wollschleger
Executive Producer: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti
Album Design: Traci Larson
Painting: May I have this dense, by Lisa Abbot-Canfield, used with permission from the artist
Photography: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, used with permission
This album was made possible with support from the Alice M. Ditson Fund