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Your mission, should you accept it, is to land your manned three-wheeled vehicle on a newly discovered planet which encircles the star “Beta Pictoris some 63 light-years from the Earth’s sun. Your vehicle is equipped with sensors, photographic equipment, recorders and other data gathering devices........Well, you get the picture as the North Carolina based “Micro-East Collective” not only provide the story yet also have scored and performed the musical soundscape for this fictitious journey into the cosmos.
062099 is the title and date of this recording as this rather large ensemble perform microtonal, minimalist passages primarily in three parts which coincides with the storyline provided in the CD liners. The first track, “Lament” finds the ensemble exploring variances in pitch, extended notes and microtonal passages while incorporating a vast arsenal of instrumentation which includes, flutes, guitars, bassoon, drums, tuba, cello and much more. The three-part opus, titled, “Exploring the Metal Sphere” comprises the main body of this work. Part 1 - “Landing and Engagements” sets the stage for the enactment of a science fiction type melodrama as this collective of primarily acoustic instrumentalists artfully scored this lengthy piece with the intentions of emitting an electric feel or synthesized sound all in convincing fashion we might add. The overall mood parallels the suggested imagery of a spacecraft embarking on a mission to a newly discovered planet, which seems to be comprised of metallic elements of an unknown origin. An overall vibe that hints at timelessness is effectively illustrated through the often ethereal, airy and unconventional orchestration which echoes the fabled “minimalist” school most notably paralleling minimalist movement father Tony Conrad and his much heralded work with stringed instruments. Part 2 – “Data Collection and Processing” features flutists and saxophonists performing in the upper registers as to indicate a rather large and ominous sound. Here, movement and excitability factor into the grand scheme of things while the final part “Abandonment, Liftoff and Escape” closes out this engagingly adventurous affair with dissonant sounds and crashing cymbals; hence, lucid imagery comes to the forefront as the band enthusiastically intimate that this mission is over.
062099 is serious music based upon a good-natured and somewhat whimsical theme. However, the stark reality of this presentation is contingent upon the laudable accomplishments of this band who convey notions that like minds are able to produce otherworldly or in a conventional sense “space” music sans complex electronics and/or digital EFX technology. With that and the overall congeniality of this offering we can safely state, .......Mission accomplished! * * * 1/2
For additional information about this recording and others please visit theUmbrella Recordingswebsite: www.umbrellarecordings.com or Email: MRSTAMEY@AOL.COM