Published on December 1, 2023 by Anne Templer | Share this post!
“…an exploration of the meditative space craved in modern life by many, alongside collaborations with composers examining themes of tranquility, devastation, ritual and energy.”
Third Coast Percussion’s latest project Between Breaths is an exploration of the meditative space craved in modern life by many, alongside collaborations with composers examining themes of tranquility, devastation, ritual and energy.
These alliances have made highly detailed and precise demands on the players; sticks used on the rims, for example; or a vibraphone played variously with the motor on or off, bowed or otherwise. There are also sounds reminiscent of indigenous peoples; hints of a log drum and vocals comprising shouts, whistles and counting. These probings attempt to wrestle with vast concepts, as exemplified by Missy Mazzoli’s Millennium Canticles, which explores the idea of humankind renewing itself after an apocalypse. The five movements emerge from a dystopian world, with hints of life that grow and develop.
The ensemble’s own composition In Practice covers the routines of musicians rehearsing together, accompanied by the everyday detritus of rehearsals. Nevertheless, touches of Tōru Takemitsu and even Messiaen manifest alongside electronic sounds. These are explored further in Tyondai Braxton’s expansive Sunny X with resonances whizzing from ear to ear, and stretched techniques producing nature sounds and dramatic pauses.
The most obviously rhythmical groove appears on Triple Point by Ayanna Woods. Here, the funky use of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ triangle, plus bass drum and rim shots provide a real sense of motion and melody. Ending with Gemma Peacocke’s Death Wish there is a sense that despite the album grappling with immeasurable concepts, there was a limit on the soundscape and a stronger emphasis on rhythmic exploration rather than melody. The effect is contemplative, even soporific