MYTHICAL SPACES

STEVEN KEMPER

 

 

Steven Kemper makes his debut on Ravello Records with his electroacoustic album MYTHICAL SPACES. Kemper combines acoustic instruments and electronics to create meditative compositions that explore the connections between real and imaginary worlds. Kemper writes that “myths represent traces of our collective imagination, and similarities between myths from different cultures point to a shared human experience.”

 

The title work Mythical Spaces concerns the liminal space between physical and mythical locations, both of natural and human construction. Amplified vessels evoke specific spaces in each of the five movements, such as an amplified pot of dirt in “Underground” and a wooden bowl in “Forest.” Breath uses various recordings of inhalations to conjure the animating, life-giving power of divine breath. Lament for flute and computer responds to the poem “A History of Lament.” Drawing from the text’s evocation of the myth of Orpheus, Kemper explores the transitions between the world of the living and the underworld. In Illa Tempore bridges not only geographical space, but temporal space as well. The piece quotes, both in title and music, Monteverdi’s 1610 Missa in illo tempore. This music of the past is juxtaposed with technology of the future—the musical robots AMI (Automated Monochord Instrument) and CARI (Cylindrical Aerophone Robotic Instrument) designed and built by Expressive Machines Musical Instruments, co-founded by Kemper. AMI and CARI produce a backdrop of shifting drones, upon which a saxophone and bassoon employ a variety of extended performance techniques. The album closes with The Seven Stars for prepared piano, a piece devoted to the mythology of stars, the constellations. Each of the work’s seven movements portrays a star in the Big Dipper, with musical intensities that correspond to each star’s apparent magnitude. The percussive, resonant sound profile of The Seven Stars includes special materials used on the piano strings, including marbles, mallets, and ping-pong balls.

 

 

Release Date: January 12, 2018

Catalog #: RR7980

Format: Digital and CD

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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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