‘Plays Well With Others’ is, of course, how one might enthuse about a new child finding its feet on entering a new school, and it’s an apt title for loadbang’s latest release, a series of challenging and often playful contemporary works celebrating unusual works for an unusual line-up.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Mo(nu)ment for C/Palimpsest by Reiko Fueting, a work which plays with fragments of speech, shuffling sibilants, all underscored by a pointillist ensemble texture that shivers with nervous energy against a backdrop of soft strings. The three speech-fragments – ‘Je suis,’ ‘Ich bin,’ ‘I am’ – are affirmations of self, of identity, contradicted by the restless musical texture beneath which refuses to settle. Any moments where the instruments are able to come together are fleeting, soon evaporating back to the breathless fluttering speech-sounds. Written in reference to the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in 2015, the piece hums with an anxiety that is constantly pulling the piece together whilst simultaneously pushing it apart. Eventually, the piece concludes with a hovering chord reminiscent of a train passing, and it’s the voice that has the final utterance, fading into silence as though there’s nothing more to say.
Latterly, the strings try to introduce moments that alert ears will identify as by Bach and Barber. There’s a sense in which the three disparate textures – wind, voices, strings – are trying to find a way of coming together, of playing well together. Do they manage it ? Up to you…
Plays Well With Others is released on the New Focus label.