Martingale by Denman Maroney
From the album
About the Album
A martingale is a betting strategy, popular in eighteenth century France, in which the gambler doubles the stakes every round. She is sure to win, if her pockets are deep enough. Tom Stoppard riffs on the idea in the first scene of his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. They lose, of course. Martingale is Maroney’s first album with Frieder and his third with Harris and Meyer. His first two with them were CRISPR and alt.timers. On Martingale all eleven tracks are compositions by Maroney except Off Centerpiece, which is his arrangement of Centerpiece by Harry Edison and Jon Hendricks. On two tracks, Time’s Out and Sea Set Wheat, Maroney plays what he calls hyperpiano, meaning he expands his instrument’s sonic palette by playing the keys with one hand and the strings with the other hand using steel cylinders, copper bars, rubber blocks, and plastic CD and cassette cases. John Cage said time is the most important parameter in music, because it is common to sound and silence. Maroney agrees. All the tracks on Martingale involve what Maroney calls temporal harmony, meaning layers of time. There are two such layers in Blind Love, Off Centerpiece, All in the Loop, and Time’s Out; three in Curl, New One Two, Peer to Peer, Sea Set Wheat, and Set Sea Sank; four in Primal Sympathy; and six in Martingale. The titles Sea Set Wheat and Set Sea Sank are homonyms of the French words for 6:7:8 (Six Sept Huit) and 7:6:5 (Sept Six Cinq), the layers of time found in those pieces. Off Centerpiece is a blues in two keys (B and E) and two layers of time (4:3). Thus, three choruses in B take four choruses in E to complete. (B to E is a perfect fourth, an interval with a harmonic ratio of 4:3.) In addition, rhythmic palindromes, or what Olivier Messiaen called non-retrogradable rhythms, are used in New One Two, Peer to Peer, Primal Sympathy, and Set Sea Sank. For more information see www.denmanmaroney.com.
Martingale, Curl, Blind Love, Off Centerpiece, All in the Loop, New One Two, Time's Out, Peer to Peer, Primal Sympathy, Sea Set Wheat, Set Sea Sank
Steven Frieder: tenor saxophone and Bb clarinet. Sadatsugu Toboé: cover art.
August 8, 2020
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