3

Michael Pisaro, Cristián Alvear: Melody, Silence

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Pisaro, Cristián Alvear: Melody, Silence The irresistible rise of Buffalo-born composer and guitarist Michael Pisaro has been an ongoing phenomenon since the turn of the millennium. Initially, his recordings and scores were released on Edition Wandelweiser, fitting as he is a significant member of the Wandelweiser group. Gradually, like-minded labels such as Another Timbre, Cathnor, Compost & Height and Erstwhile also began issuing Pisaro recordings. More recently, his own Gravity Wave label has been issuing the lion's share of his music, culminating in the release of the highly-praised three-disc box set Continuum Unbound (Gravity Wave, 2014).

Now, Potlatch joins that distinguished list of labels with Melody, Silence, a collection of materials for solo guitarist, written by Pisaro in 2011, here realised by Chilean guitarist Cristián Alvear in a studio recording made in Santiago, Chile, on July 1st 2014. A sleeve note informs us that there are up to twelve fragments (or pieces) which can be played in any order and allow for various transformations, cuts, extensions and silences. So each guitarist makes their own version. As a guitarist, Alvear has focussed in particular on minimalism and Wandelweiser works. (On the YouTube clip below, see his version of Jürg Frey's "Relikt.") He developed his own version of "Melody, Silence" over several months in 2014.

Alvear's version certainly took full advantage of the opportunities to include silences; he repeatedly pauses for prolonged periods, sometimes to allow the listener to fully savour a decaying note uninterrupted. In addition, on one occasion for about nine minutes, the sounds of plucked guitar give way to a sustained low level droning tone—on first listening, long enough to prompt a technical check of one's equipment. After such an interval, the much-anticipated re-entry of the guitar comes as a welcome relief. Therein lies one of the great pleasures of this music, that of delayed gratification wherein the listener is made to anticipate the arrival of notes and so appreciate them all the more for having had to wait. As so often with Pisaro's music, it is a model of control and taste, with nothing liable to surprise, shock or jolt the listener. Time and again, when its forty-six minutes are done, the only sensible option seems to be to repeat the experience. Yes, beautiful stuff.

This release will surely enhance the reputations of Alvear, Pisaro and Potlatch itself. It is early days yet, but be prepared to watch it appear like a rash across music writers' best-of-2015 lists.

Track Listing: Melody, Silence.

Personnel: Cristián Alvear: guitar

Title: Melody, Silence | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Potlatch Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Sky Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Sky Begins
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.