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Noah Creshevsky: Rounded with a sleep

img  Tobias Fischer

Noah Creshevsky once said that the next Mozart might well come from the ranks of video gamers. That future hasn't yet come to pass, but Creshevsky's prediction has served as a potent reminder for him to prevent his music from ever growing stale or repetitive. In a discography which, after his defining 2003 album Hyperrealism, has grown with astounding speed and seemingly increasing ease, Rounded with a sleep may well be the closest he has come to his personal manifesto.

On the face of it, this is chamber music, written for solo performers or small, comparatively traditional ensemble settings. And yet, the sonic familiarity only serves to bring out the uniqueness and excitingly idiosyncratic nature of the underlying scores and concepts in ever sharper relief. On "What If", lightning-speed piano arpeggios are interlocked with gritty harpsichord figures with preternatural precision, creating a breathtaking race for an imaginary finish line. On "La Sonnambula", piano, vibraphone and clarinet are brimming with so much joi de vivre that each seems to be playing its own piece - yet the resulting fusion of melodic lines is of a seamless and shimmering textural quality. On "Lisa Barnard Redux", meanwhile, Chreshevsky weaves a tight, equally hypnotic and lively arrangement from words, thematic fragments, rhythmical scats and harmonic clusters, a whole world built entirely from one person's vocal chords.

The recording studio provides for the means of realising these ideas and making them sound credible, for an infinite array of possibilities and palettes. And yet, the creative spark still very much occurs within the communication between the composer and his audience. The most impressive instances are not the ones charged with technical virtuosity – although the supernaturally scintillating trills in the title piece are undeniably causing spikes in the listener's adrenalin levels – but those, when the music stops for a short pause of breath, comfortably resting in space for a moment before continuing.

Creshevsky may be interested in extending music beyond the humanly possible, but his goal is never to extend it beyond the human. If music has remained as relevant and potent as ever in the 21st century, then perhaps that is because there is something in the act of conceiving, performing and listening to it that still feels more profound than ripping through virtual video game corridors shooting up aliens. In a world where the term reality is increasingly loosing its meaning, Rounded with a sleep serves as a perfect reminder of why we should never let go of this power.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Pogus Recordings