GENE PRITSKER - Samplestra

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GENE PRITSKER - Samplestra - Electro-Acoustic Music - 045635364929 - Released: May 2013 - Composers Concordance 0015

1} Modified #1 - John Clark (Horn)
2} Nothing in Life - Peter Krysa (Violin)
3} Destined To Shed - Cesar Papetti (Percussion)
4} Mysterious Restlessness - Michiyo Suzuki (Clarinet)
5} Free Will Problem - Matthias Kronsteiner (Bassoon)
6} Electrically Tragic - Martin Kuuskmaan (Bassoon)
7} Misfortune Has its Uses - Peter Krysa (Violin)
8} Sorrow, like pleasure, Creates its Own Atmosphere - Margaret Lancaster (Flute)
9} Digital Debussy - La Mer - Kathleen Supové (Piano)
10} Modified #2 - Gene Pritsker (Guitar)

"Samplestra is the name I give to any prerecorded elements in my music. I see it as an orchestra of samples, since I meticulously notate everything that you hear in the electronic track. I treat these samples as found objects to write new music with, using little fragments of pre-existing music or sounds and manipulating them to my own composition." {Gene Pritsker}

Over the last few years, I've had several opportunities to listen to the music of Gene Pritsker, and up until the release of Samplestra, had found it difficult to assimilate and/or appreciate his angle of approach to composition. For one thing, he's found to be extremely versatile and, like quicksilver, seems to jump from one style or technique to the next in the flash of an eye. With his latest venture, I seem to have caught up and caught on to his eclectic delivery, to the point that now this CD gets more than its fair share of spins in my player.

Although designated a "classical" composer, the standard understanding of that term does not really apply in his case. His writing habits certainly seem archetypically "classical". A prolific output (over 400 works and counting), a meticulous micro-management of his scores, writing for chamber groups, singers, soloists and orchestras alike, etc .... the list goes on. But his expressive reach is so wide as to encompass everything from ethno/techno, rock/jazz fusion, classical opera and more, and it all seems to be effortlessly integrated within his anima and comes out through different facets of his persona. You could almost see him as a modern day renaissance man. Most of the music on this new CD is fast-paced, frenetic, driven by nervous energy and always fleshing out details like an overclocked cpu. Traces of Fripp, Bruford, Weather Report, Bryars, Zappa, are vaguely present within the mesh of his music, but never copied, just simply evoked. And when Gene Pritsker comes up for air, slows down, and lets his expressive side take over, as in the slow movement of Electrically Tragic, truly evocative and moving music comes to the surface.

All the instrumentalists taking part in this recording are to be commended for their sense of adventure, and flawless musicianship and handling of their individual parts, most particularly John Clark, Michiyo Suzuki, Matthias Kronsteiner, Martin Kuuskmaan, and Gene Pritsker himself on electric guitar. This type of electronic and digital manipulation has been done many times before, and is not to everyone's liking, but Gene Pritsker does it so well, that it comes off sounding fresh, new, and most of all, sincere. Listen! What this composer has to say on the matter is worth hearing.

Jean-Yves Duperron - May 2013