Jack Sheen - Solo For Cello
Jack Sheen - Solo For Cello
Jack Sheen - Solo For Cello

Jack Sheen - Solo For Cello

Regular price $13.00 Sale

Label: The Trilogy Tapes - TTTCD1
Format: CD
Country: UK
Released: 2023
Genre: Classical
Style: Contemporary, Experimental, Avantgarde

Wow curveball from cherished label The Trilogy Tapes, branching out now into CDs (very much our theme this week) with a studio recording of Manchester composer / conductor Jack Sheen’s Solo For Cello written for Lithuania-based Cellist Anton Lukoszevieze.

It’s a stark, engrossing exercise in listening.  Lukoszevieze explores the harmonics of the prepared cello, magnifying the instrument’s micro-tonalities whilst displaying a staggering deftness of touch with the bow.  Texturally contrasting, the sharp, almost brutal arpeggios create an uncanny unnatural resonance, clustering together to form a sense of rhythmic expectation.  It really sucks you in, much like the installations of rhythmic mechanics from Dutch composer Remko Scha, there’s an undeniable hypnotism from relentless repetition, eventually allowing us to ‘get inside the sound’ as La Monte Young described so long ago.  The whole piece sorta billows out after the midpoint, coalescing with tuned electronics and processed field recordings that give an extra dimension of space.  We’re eternally going back to Ellen Fullman’s recordings for her Long String Instrument, or Phill Niblock impeccable Niblock For Celli LP so it’s nice to have something that continues this linage, no less from a talented local on a label we love.  The future is now.  (Mint / new)

The Trilogy Tapes’ first CD presents a studio recording of Jack Sheen’s Solo for Cello, a 35’ work written for Anton Lukoszevieze, the cellist, artist, and Director of the group Apartment House, renowned for their recent recordings of John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Jim O’Rourke, amongst many others.

Throughout the piece, the cello is microtonally retuned and prepared with a heavy metal mute, thinning out it’s sound by dampening the instrument’s natural resonance. The majority of the piece is played on harmonics, a technique where the cellist only lightly touches the strings with their finger rather than with the full pressure required to normally produce the rich tones associated with the instrument. Instead, the resulting sound is hollow and unstable, but bright and glistening. Similarly, the bow is wielded with an extreme and abnormally delicate touch, shunning traditional cello playing technique to bring out the airy sounds of the bow’s hair whisping across the strings where it can balance as an equal with the pitches as they flicker in and out of focus.

Although informed by slow moving and long-form music associated with practices ranging from deep-listening to ambient and drone, Solo for Cello fills these spacious moulds with hyperactive, virtuosic, and relentless music. Dominated by rapidly descending arpeggios and splintered, pointillistic isorhythms – an early form an algorithmic composition originating from the 14th century – the piece presents panels of knotted rhythmic patterns that constantly expand and contract on an almost imperceptible level. Mechanical repetition is shunned in favour of imperfect reoccurrence, punctuated at times by temperamental dirges stretched out to near breaking point.

Rather than offering a gestural counterpoint to the cello’s material, the electronics provide a background wash to its intensely kinetic activity: different shades of noise and heavily processed field recordings combine in a variety of fragile sonic blocks that subtly shift our perception of the acoustic sound, like suddenly placing the instrument in a series of different environments.

Solo for Cello is an intense but hypnotic listen, at once reaching out from the 17th century viol suites of Marin Marais, to the systematic rhythmic spasms of Mark Fell, and the radiant, unfurling journeys of Eliane Radique. Best listened to quietly on speakers placed as far away as possible.
.  (Mint / New)

1. One 07:50
2. Two 01:39
3. Three 01:28
4. Four 02:21
5. Five 07:19
6. Six 01:00
7. Seven 00:52
8. Eight 00:23
9. Nine 03:55
10. Ten 05:42
11. Eleven 02:09
12. Twelve 01:02
13. Solo for Cello (continuous) 35:45