RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Beyond"

img  Tobias

Barry Schrader is a composer who likes to get right to it. While some of his colleagues have made it an art moulding everything into metaphors, hiding behind the “beauty” of their aural clouds or behind the usual “space” connotations of their analog electronic equipment, Schrader neither has an interest in the supposed poetical qualities of beating about the bush, nor in leaving earth. If he does touch upon metaphysical questions, then they hold a direct link with human existence– such as on “Beyond”.

Separated into two blocks of almost exactly 28 minutes, this collection of six fairly recent tracks composed between 1992 and 2004 deals with death, its different forms and the stages leading towards it. “First Spring”, a programmatic offshoot from the “Fallen Sparrow” sessions, portrays the imagined last thoughts of a dying bird, returning to the miraculous and slowly unfolding fields of its youth, while “Beyond” depicts the unknown in more general terms, as a landscape outside of our direct reach. In these pieces, Schrader is clearly still on the tonal side of things – his bubbling, glistening, glittering, breathing, menacing, whispering and threatening sounds clearly relating to each other in harmonic terms, even though he isolates them into dissected islands which thwarts the notion of chord scheme development and blurrs the listener’s sense of time. Death, here, is a frightening place, yet you can always feel its strange lure, just like you are drawn into the deep when gazing from a high building and the way “Beyond” quietens down after a full-force-opening conjurs up images of candles being blown out by motionless winds. On the demonstratively entitled tripart “Death”, however, nothing remains from this still human perspective. The music stripps off form and structures start disintegrating. “Before Death”, the first movement, consists of long-drawn breaths of greyish colour, shifting inside, approaching yet resting in themselves. They condense into thick packs of sighed drones in the second part, giving birth to the metamorphic rock of “After Death”, a trip of intense majesty and nebulous infinity against which the soundscapes of the “Dark Ambient” scene seem like Disney Land excursions.

Of course, Schrader doesn’t offer any direct answers. He knows all too well that there are hints at what to expect when life converges towards its end, but nothing the material world would call “solid evidence”. What he has realised, though, is that music may offer a quicker glimpse behind the curtain than words. “The fate of everything is nothing, and in nothing is everything.”, the liner notes read, “And then there was silence”. Which is why you have to stay wide awake until the very end – it is the moment when the music’s over which conceals a glimpse of the solution.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Barry Schrader
Homepage: Innova Recordings


Related articles

flag
Interview with Barry Schrader
These are exciting times for ...
2008-03-04
flag
CD Feature/ Giancarlo Vulcano: "vetro"
Self-forgotten and detached from everything ...
2008-01-18
flag
Barry Schrader: Presents the Monkey King
American electroacoustic composer Barry Schrader ...
2008-01-04
flag
CD Feature/ GVSU New Music Ensemble: "Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians"
Colour, melody, harmony, groove and ...
2007-12-01
flag
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Fallen Sparrow"
A variety of musical meanings: ...
2007-10-12
flag
CD Feature/ Mary Ellen Childs: "Dream House"
A personal study: Childs rises ...
2007-10-12
flag
CD Feature/ Evidence: "Iris"
Recent developments in video and ...
2007-07-26
flag
Net Decks 1
Our regular look at the ...
2007-06-25
flag
CD Feature/ John Morton: "Solo Traveler"
Chains of charming chimes: Morton ...
2007-05-30
flag
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "EAM"
Symphonic music of the next ...
2007-05-22
flag
CD Feature/ Aufgehoben: "Messidor"
Rock really is dead: Cuts ...
2007-05-16
flag
CD Feature/ TJ Norris: "triMIX"
Shows the world of “experimental” ...
2007-03-05
flag
Vital Weekly 562
Frans de Waard presents the ...
2007-02-06
flag
CD Feature/ Barry Schrader: "Lost Atlantis"
Slightly opaque visions between major ...
2006-12-09
flag
CD Feature/ Seth Nehil & jgrzinich: "Gyre"
This is the point where ...
2006-08-02
flag
Vital Weekly 521
Frans de Waard presents the ...
2006-04-15
flag
CD Feature/ Tom Heasley: "On the Sensations of Tone"
Incredibly and inexplicably, each moment ...
2006-03-15
flag
CD Feature/ Hans Fjellestad: "Kobe Live House"
As entertaining as a blockbuster
2006-02-21
flag
CD Feature/ Crowell, Doles & Quinn: "Don't Look Down"
Opens up in all points ...
2006-01-22

Partner sites

ad