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Taylor Brook: Ecstatic Music

by TAK Ensemble

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diskant You might want to merge (join) the five 'Weather Reports': it's an awesome, haunting piece of music
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Idolum 12:54
Amalgam 08:43


Ecstatic Music: TAK plays Brook presents four recent works by composer Taylor Brook, interpreted by TAK Ensemble, a “stellar” quintet (flute, clarinet, violin, percussion, and voice) featuring some of New York’s most adventurous new music performers. The album is the product of years of collaboration between Brook and TAK, and captures the range of Brook’s compositional voice, as well as TAK’s dedication to bold, highly communicative new music.

Ecstatic Music, the album's title track, is a frenetic and virtuosic work for violin and percussion, performed brilliantly by the violinist Marina Kifferstein and percussionist Ellery Trafford. The work's ecstatic state is achieved through a musical language that employs fragile instrumental techniques and microtonal tuning systems. Throughout Ecstatic Music, the violinist and percussionist (playing two microtonally tuned guitars) work as a single unit, often playing in rhythmic unison to create a truly otherworldly sound.

The haunting song cycle Five Weather Reports uses text from David Ohle's novel Motorman to comment on current environmental and societal concerns. The five songs, performed exquisitely by soprano Charlotte Mundy and her instrumental colleagues, showcase the group’s ability to find extreme, powerful contrasts of sound, as they blend various timbres and extended techniques to create striking new textures.

Idolum draws connections between the work's title, which suggests a phantom or spirit, and the sensors that control the piece's guitar machines. As Brook explains in his notes, the title also refers to the nature of music which, "can become a spell or hypnosis, pulling thought and emotions this way and that." Amalgam explores ways in which sonic and musical amalgamation can be achieved through orchestration. In the first half of the piece, Brook presents a fusion of sound in the instrumental consort, matching disparate musical elements to create a unified monophonic texture. The work's second half achieves a different type of unity, with single lines fused into heterophony united through connection and contrast. In keeping with the rest of the album, this work celebrates the virtuosity of the individual voices and explores the possibilities of this unique ensemble blend.


released September 9, 2016

Produced by David Bird and Taylor Brook
Design by David Bird
Engineered by Patrick Higgins
Mastered by Christopher Botta
Recorded at Futurepast Studio, 11/14/2016 to 11/15/2016




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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