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Unseen Worlds

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“In essence, the sound of the piano comes in two parts: its attack and its decay. The striking of a hammer is followed by the resonance of a string or strings. (Much the same might be said about the vibraphone, as it happens.) This dual quality of sound comes to mind when listening to Moments by New York-based composer Michael Vincent Waller. Performed by pianist R. Andrew Lee and vibraphonist William Winant, Moments − his third album, following Trajectories (Recital, 2017) and The South Shore (XI, 2015) − draws on Western classical music tradition in its most archetypal forms through its use of modal melodies, triadic harmonies and metered rhythms. Yet the emotional heart of the music is not in attack, but resonance. The afterlife of sounds. Those elements that can’t be grasped and placed into easy historical categories. Behind his surface attacks Waller finds hazy, edgeless zones that draw us downwards, into introspection – an “inward gaze.” Waller’s music is often compared to that of Erik Satie, and there is certainly something Satie-like in its concision, its subtle asymmetries and its lack of ornament. But where Satie’s Gnossiennes, Nocturnes and Gymnopédies were blank canvases, deliberately signifying nothing, Waller’s pieces are vessels to be filled. That is partly an effect of titles: Waller’s pieces on this disc are all ‘moments’ of autobiographical poignancy – memorials, birthdays, homecomings; friends, teachers, family members. We are clearly invited to invest certain emotional expectations into these sounds.

Liner notes by Tim Rutherford-Johnson and “Blue” Gene Tyranny. Mastered by Denis Blackham for digital and compact disc. Mastered and cut for vinyl by Rashad Becker. Cover art by Phill Niblock with graphic design by Robert Beatty.

Michael Vincent Waller is an American concert music composer based in New York City. Waller's practice has been cultivated through private study with La Monte Young, Bunita Marcus, and Elizabeth Hoffman, with whom he worked as an undergrad at NYU.  He has since collaborated with a number of noted soloists and ensembles including R. Andrew Lee, Stephane Ginsburgh, Dante Boon, the S.E.M. Ensemble, String Noise, and Ensemble Dedalus. In 2015 Phill Niblock's XI Records launched Waller's acclaimed recorded debut, The South Shore, which compiles a number of short solo and chamber works spanning 2011-2014. In 2017, he released Trajectories, on Recital, featuring R. Andrew Lee and Seth Parker Woods.

Andrew Lee is one of the foremost interpreters of minimal music for the piano. Lee received his DMA in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the direction of Prof. John McIntyre. Lee currently teaches at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.  The intersection of minimal music and temporality is a primary research interest for Lee. He has presented papers and lecture-recitals internationally, and his writing has been published by Divergence Press. He has recorded thirteen albums for Irritable Hedgehog Music and Recital, including the premiere recording of Dennis Johnson’s five-hour minimalist epic, November.

William Winant has collaborated with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, and Frank Zappa.  Winant received a B.F.A. from York University in 1978 and an M.F.A. from Mills College in 1982. He has recorded and toured worldwide with his own groups including Room (with Chris Brown and Larry Ochs), Challenge (with Anthony Braxton and David Rosenboom), Wake (with Frank Gratkowski and Chris Brown), and the Abel/Steinberg/Winant Trio. In 2014 he received a Grammy nomination for his recording of John Cage’s 27' 10.554” on MicroFest Records. In 2016, Winant was recognized by the Foundation of Contemporary Arts for his groundbreaking work as a contemporary percussionist.” - Unseen Worlds.

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