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Posts tagged 'Yarn/Wire'

Alex Mincek's "Images of Duration" [In Homage to Ellsworth Kelly]" Released on Northern Spy Records

Alex Mincek has long been interested in how humans percieve sound, and how to craft music that plays with perceptual shifts—from slight to drastic. Images of Duration, released recently on Northern Spy Records, continues this compositional thread through elements both monumental and minute: two pianos, tuned 1/4 tone apart, are accompanied by a vast array of ad hoc percussion instruments, performing an hour-long piece that is full of doubles: flatness and dynamism, shallowness and profound depth, slowness and extreme speed. 

Masterfully performed by Yarn/Wire, for whom Mincek composed the work between 2015–2018, Images of Duration is a composition of long duration that is divided into eight sections, each of which presents listeners with new possibiilties for attention, perception, and reaction to sound. Titled with visual descriptors of form and color, these sections present dramatic contrasts in the dimensions of pitch, rhythm, timbre, and dynamics, and yet also maintain a consistent arc throughout the work as a whole. Stream the recording below! 

Sound American Releases Alex Mincek Portrait Album "Torrent"



On April 26th, Sound American releases a new album, Torrent, featuring the music of Alex Mincek—the composer's first solo album since 2011's self-titled release on Carrier Records. Torrent collects recordings of several new works for ensemble alongside extensive interviews and wrtitings on Mincek into a 28-page art-object, and is the first of Sound American's "Young Composer Portrait series".

Torrent includes recordings of several works performed by members of the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and the Mivos Quartet. These works were all composed in the past seven years, and include Pendulum VII, which is available from PSNY. Check out an excerpt below: 

In a special issue devoted to the music of Alex Mincek, Sound American offers several interviews between Mincek, the Wet Ink ensemble, Nate Wooley, and Jeremiah Cymerman. On the works collected and recorded on Torrent, Eric Wubbels notes:

"Each piece is a balance between objects and ideas that have been thoroughly tested and developed in previous pieces and new, exploratory, or experimental ideas (sounds, objects, forms). In any given piece, if the new ideas work well, they might find their way into the next piece, and so on... As a result, I see a kind of slow evolution and refreshing of the musical language within a style that maintains a strong profile and internal consistency."

For more critical analysis of Mincek's recent work, check out George Grella's long-form article on Mincek in Music and Literature, which describes him as "on the outside, looking out."

Alex Mincek Portrait Concert at Miller Theatre



Alex Mincek
—the composer and performer dubbed "the new guard of the New York avant-garde" by the The New York Times—will see his music featured in a Composer Portrait Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre on February 25th. The portrait features the piano/percussion quartet Yarn/Wire and the Mivos Quartet in the premiere of two new works: Torrent, an octet for two pianos, percussion and string quartet, commissioned by the Miller Theatre, and Images of Duration (In homage to Ellsworth Kelly), for Yarn/Wire. To compliment these new works, Yarn/Wire will perform Mincek's Pendulum VI: Trigger, composed in 2010, and the Mivos Quartet will perform String Quartet No. 3 ("lift – tilt – filter – split")

Mincek's Images of Duration, for Yarn/Wire, references the sequence of images that Kelly planned as a book in 1951: Line Form Color. He elaborates:

"In Kelly's work a succession of images proceeds from one to many lines, then grids, then primary color fields, then mixed color fields, and finally shapes embedded in color. My own work follows roughly the same strategy, applied to sound, in various reorderings, and emphasizes, like the Kelly, the futility of fully separating the experience of color from that of shape/gesture and how the order, or 'form' of the successions can intensify or dilute the perception of each." 


Pendulum VI: Trigger
 is part of Mincek's Pendulum series of compositions, which deal with the constantly-changing nature of pendulum swings. Mincek writes, 

"As a pendulum swings, it repeatedly passes smoothly through all the space and time between extremes without becoming fixed on any single position. The 'Pendulum' series presents a catalog of musical extremes, but like a pendulum, does not become fixed on any one musical position. Instead, it represents a refusal to choose any one side. Both sides of multiple polemics are treated as equals and are mediated by alternating in constant succession from one to the other, in an attempt to represent the futile insistence of having both, many, and all at once."

Check out an excerpt from Pendulum VI below: 

String Quartet No. 3 ("lift – tilt – filter – split") also plays with constantly-changing musical flux, though more akin to a Foucault Pendulum, which shows both its own oscillations and that of the constantly-rotating earth. This piece allows multiple points of entry, using constantly-changing textures to represent dynamic systemic changes. Check out a preview of the Mivos Quartet performing Mincek's String Quartet No. 3

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