Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for Drones

The three works by composer Nico Muhly on this album feature an instrument playing against a prerecorded drone, usually an octave or a fifth. “We surround ourselves with constant noise,” writes Muhly in a program note, and these pieces “are an attempt to honor these drones and stylize them.” One of the most impressive aspects of these pieces is the variety of relationships that unfold between the “solo” instruments and the drones. In “Drones and Piano” the instrumental material often consists of irregular outbursts, as if the piano were shadowboxing, or making an argument against an implacable foe.

In “Drones and Viola” and “Drones and Violin” the two personae trade places, with the string instrument taking on the static part while the piano, ostensibly the drone instrument, makes quizzical comments. “Material With Shifting Drones,” from the violin piece, shows how skillfully the two functions can be integrated, while the last movement of the viola piece, “Material in a Long Cadence,” is beautifully despondent, the most emotionally direct track on the album. The three instrumentalists — pianist Bruce Brubaker, of New England Conservatory; violist Nadia Sirota; violinist Pekka Kuusisto — play with a terrific understanding of Muhly’s language. All three pieces were released as EPs, and this collection features a bonus track, “Drones in Large Cycles,” a gorgeous, multifaceted flow that shows how versatile this simple musical artifact can be.

The Boston Globe (December 22nd 2012)

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