Flamethrower

new music for trumpet, flugelhorn

& interactive electroacoustics

 

Stephen Ruppenthal

 

OVERVIEW

 

Innovative New Music trumpeter Stephen Ruppenthal commands attention right out the gate. Or perhaps, more specifically, he commands it right out the “NGate” – the subtitle of the opening track on FLAMETHROWER, his Ravello Records debut. The album contains world premieres of five pieces for trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, and crotale, composed specifically for Ruppenthal by Allen Strange, Bruno Liberda, Elainie Lillios, and Brian Belet.

 

From the first notes of Velocity Studies V: NGate, listeners might recall the spirit of Miles Davis’s Electric Era, as delayed trumpet blasts echo deep into their psyche. Ruppenthal’s playing also alludes to the works of trumpeters like Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molvær.

 

What sets Ruppenthal’s expressive trumpet performances apart is the way they’re informed by digital sound processing and interactive electroacoustics. The combination of organic and synthesized sounds come together to form a cohesive sonic landscape steeped with an edgy, introspective feeling throughout.

 

Tracks like “a sphere of air is bound” show the trumpeter extending his instrument from its traditional sound. Ruppenthal’s trumpet is simultaneously processed and multiplied by the Kyma system, which mimics sounds from deep within a dense jungle soundscape.

 

Ruppenthal uses the haunting reverberations of the crotale to open Lillios’ November Twilight, the album’s centerpiece. As his bursts of trumpet pierce through the track’s sonic landscape, the trumpeter adds intermittent vocalizations, taking inspiration from the Haiku poem by Wally Swist, and substratal sonance, contributing further ripples to the atmosphere. This all builds to a triumphant swell of trumpets that shimmer amid the piece’s darker tones, a dichotomy creating contrast and depth, and enhancing the many facets and moods of the work.

 

The title of Misty Magic Land reflects its sounds; chimes and high-end timbres create a mystical and mysterious atmosphere for Ruppenthal’s trumpets to explore. Brian Belet also appears on the track as producer and overseer of digital audio processing. He returns to these roles for his composition System of Shadows at the end of the album.

 

Speaking of FLAMETHROWER’s concluding track, System of Shadows returns to the frenzied, impassioned nature of the album’s opener, processing a Bitches Brew-inpired core with shimmering reconstruction achieved in tandem with the Kyma system processing. Quick loops sizzle under the surface long after Ruppenthal has released the notes from his trumpet, resulting in a hypnotic effect unlike anything else on the album. The hum of the lingering trumpet is a cathartic end to an innovative journey.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Stephen Ruppenthal is Principal Trumpet and Contemporary Music Advisor for Redwood Symphony, and has been performing contemporary, avant-garde trumpet since his days with the Electric Weasel Ensemble with Allen Strange and Don Buchla, and President’s Breakfast, appearing in venues in the US and Europe. He currently performs with the electroacoustic group, SoundProof, with composer and bassist Brian Belet and new music violinist Pat Strange.

 

He is also known for his electro-acoustic musical compositions, his writings on text-sound composition, and articles written for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. His written work, A History of the Development and Techniques of Sound Poetry in the Twentieth Century in Western Culture, constituted the first comprehensive documentation of the genre in English.

 

A versatile trumpeter, Ruppenthal’s performances on FLAMETHROWER bring to life compositions which blend trumpet and electroacoustics, all of which are world premieres composed specifically for him. These works have been perfected by their composers and Ruppenthal for several years.

 

In addition to brass performances for trumpet and flugelhorn, a few of the album’s compositions include parts for voice, which manifest in intriguing vocalizations from Ruppenthal. Additionally, November Twilight makes prominent use of crotales, a percussion instrument known as “antique cymbals” and consisting of small, tuned disks made of brass or bronze.

 

Acknowledgements

 

Sincere thank-you’s: To Belinda Carr, whose never ceasing encouragement, support, and artistic vision helped tie this project together. It would not have been possible, otherwise. My appreciation to composer Brian Belet for being project producer on this journey, and for being the best performing partner, and friend, that I could hope for. Special thanks to Lee Ray for his recording and post-production artistry and partnership during the project, and patience during the long-haul to bring this CD to fruition. And, to Gordon Stevens of Open Path Studios for his inspiring faith in the project, support above and beyond the call. Gratitude to Marianne Bickett for the portrait she did of me in the recording studio ~ it enhances Flamethrower with its imagery. Finally, thanks to the creative group at PARMA Recordings, with acknowledgements to Bob Lord, Chris Robinson, and Lucas Paquette for simply having the best record publishing company in the known universe!

 

ALSO ON RAVELLO RECORDS

 

(RR7927) TEXTURES

JAMES ZINGARA

 

 

 

 

Release Date: March 10, 2017

Catalog #: RR7954

 

 

TRACK TITLES

 

01  Velocity Studies V: NGate 2007 Allen Strange

Stephen Ruppenthal C trumpets

 

02 A Sphere of Air is Bound 2010  Bruno Liberda

Stephen Ruppenthal  C trumpet & voice

Bruno Liberda  Kyma digital audio processing

 

03  November Twilight 2011 Elainie Lillios

Stephen Ruppenthal  C trumpet, crotale & voice

Elainie Lillios  interactive electroacoustics

 

04  Misty Magic Land 2004  Allen Strange

Stephen Ruppenthal  C trumpet

Allen Strange  digital media

Brian Belet  Kyma digital audio processing

 

System of Shadows 2007  Brian Belet

05  I. Aurora Borealis

06  II. Andromeda’s Dream

07  III. Zephyr Apparition

Stephen Ruppenthal  C trumpet & Bb flugelhorn

Brian Belet  Kyma digital audio processing

 

CREDITS

 

Velocity Studies V: NGate

Recorded August 2009 at Open Path Studio,

in Willow Glen CA

Recording Engineer Lee Ray

Post-production July 21, 2016 at LIGO Studios,

in Scotts Valley CA

Audio Engineer Lee Ray

Producer Brian Belet

 

A Sphere of Air is Bound

Recorded August 2010 at Summit Studio,

in Emerald Hills CA

Audio Engineer Stephen Ruppenthal

Kyma electroacoustic processing September, 2010

at Liberda Studio, in Vienna, Austria

Post-production at LIGO Studios, in Scotts Valley CA

Audio Engineer Lee Ray

Producer Stephen Ruppenthal

 

November Twilight

Recorded March 23, 24, 2013 at Open Path Studio,

in Willow Glen CA

Recording Session Engineer Lee Ray

Post-production July 9, 2016 at LIGO Studios,

in Scotts Valley CA

Audio Engineer Lee Ray

Producer Brian Belet

 

Misty Magic Land

Recorded August 18, 20, 2009

at Open Path Studio, in San Jose CA

Recording Session Engineer Lee Ray

Post production April 24, 2016 at LIGO Studios,

in Scotts Valley CA

Audio Engineer Lee Ray

Producer Brian Belet

 

System of Shadows

Recorded April 7, 9, & 11, 2009

at Open Path Studio, in San Jose CA

Mixed May 18, 2009

Recording Session Engineer Lee Ray

Post-production April 22 & 24, 2016

at LIGO Studios, in Scotts Valley CA

Audio Engineer Lee Ray

Producer Brian Belet

 

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Chris Robinson

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

Graphic Design Ryan Harrison

Marketing Scott Murphy

 

Front cover design and photos by Belinda Carr

(© 2016 BCarr, All Rights Reserved).

© RAVELLO RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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