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Music Album reviews with Ben Lunn: November 14, 2022

New releases from Alex Paxton, Spaces Unfolding and Mihailo Trandafilovski

 
Ilolli-pop
Alext Paxton
Nonclassical
★★★★

GAIETY is a word that is rarely associated with contemporary music – creators and lovers of the art form are often (either in stereotype or reality) stuffy figures, who are well versed in the obscure and musically unfamiliar.

For composer and trombonist Alex Paxton jovial and gay are the words that come to mind.

This second album, dedicated to the work of the composer, show not only the breadth of his talents, but the manic energy and quirk in his music.

A lot of the charm of Paxton’s music comes in the fact that that Vivaldi-like spring chicken energy feels distant and far removed from music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Meaning this music is like a refreshing drink of water after a long period of thirst. Who knows how long the fun will last? In the meantime we have this manic treat to keep our spirits up.

 

Spaces Unfolding
The Way We Speak
Bead Records
★★★

 

EXPERIMENTAL music can be daunting, but there are qualities that can always be drawn out – energy and quality of the performers, the curiosity of sounds, and the aural landscape they create by various means.

The debut album by Spaces Unfolding featuring the musical talents of Neil Metcalfe, Emil Karlsen and Phil Wachsmann is a lively and colourful collection of pieces.

Between the cohort, you can feel the charisma between the players and the certain magic telepathy close musical partnerships develop which I feel is a blessing and a curse in this particular setting.

I feel the electricity of in-person listening will far exceed whatever the album does.

The performance is solid, and the trio are truly united as a troupe, but I want to see them live first before I really make my mind up about their music.

 

Mihailo Trandafilovski
Polychromy
Metier
★★★★

THE classical music of Macedonia is a mystery to me – and I presume for the composer Mihailo Trandafilovski that is a common thing he hears. However, when I first saw this album was due to be released in November, I knew I had to get my ears exploring.

The album consists of various chamber works, with the title composition Polychromy being a work for solo cello, and as the title suggests chroma/colour is a central concern within all the works featured.

Sarenilo for two violins stood out for its energy which grabbed my attention from the opening gesture, and Sandglass was a mesmerising and hypnotic work for solo clarinet.

Overall, there is a really personal and curious musical voice. As an introduction to music from the small Balkan nation, this music is truly inviting, and I will explore more from the composer and nation with great intrigue.

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