American Record Guide: “Perspectives” review

Published on December 1, 2022 by Barry Kilpatrick       |      Share this post!

“Mesmerizing works” 

“Fantastic album”

Mesmerizing works presented by the Chicago-based ensemble Third Coast Percussion. Danny Elfman’s 4-movement Percussion Quartet is minimalist in its repetitive but slowly changing rhythms and harmonies. Scored for both pitched (mallet) and non-pitched (drums) instruments, the two types often seem to battle for supremacy. TCP’s version of Philip Glass’s haunting Metamorphosis I is based on Glass’s original piano piece and the setting by Brazilian percussion ensemble Uakti. The variety of timbres produced by marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and melodica is remarkable. I’m especially moved by the marimba’s deep, husky sounds in the beginning of the piece.

The amount of variety of in the 7-movement, 31-minute Perspective is almost bewildering. What we hear is TCP’s take on electronic tracks presented to them by composer Jlin (Jerrilynn Patton). Most of the movements include a quirky noise that’s heard a few times during a basic sound tapestry: a chirping little bird in I (‘Paradigm’), a creaky door in II (‘Obscure’), an odd vibration at 2:32 in III (‘Derivative’).

The fascinating album ends with the 3-movement, 14-minute Rubix, co-composed and performed by TCP with the flute duo Flutronix. In I (‘Go’), the flutes seem like percussion instruments that basically play rhythms on repeated notes. In II (‘Play’), one of the flutes (an alto, perhaps) plays low, sustained notes while the other engages in high-pitched interactions with the ensemble. In ‘Still,’ the flutes play smooth fragments in a traditional way while other instruments produce eerie, windy sounds.

The Brooklyn-based Flutronix consists of Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull. Third Coast Percussion’s members are Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore.