Award-winning composer David Kechley mines the intimate in order to find the dramatic, eschewing volume and mass in favor of tension and melodic invention of the works on this disc. This extends to the instrumentation, which includes creative percussion such as circular saw blades and pine planks cut to different lengths in "Design and Construction" or the pitched gongs, crotales, woodblocks, and exotic bells of the title track.
David Kechley's new CD, Colliding Objects, is a powerful and engaging survey of works by the composer from the early 1980's through the current day. What strikes me as I listen to this music is that Kechley is an omnivore, a composer with a roving and curious ear, not content to settle into one single style or idiom. From the tense rigor of Design and Construction to the passionate delicacy of Available Light, his music displays a wide range of colors, harmonies and ways of treating both horizontal and vertical musical space. That being said, his works are united by several qualities, chiefly his great interest in and use of motoric rhythms, and his highly detailed deployment of timbre.
Dancing, the earliest work, is a kaleidoscopic work for percussion ensemble in four movements, a survey of the vast potential of percussion sounds. Each movement focuses on a different timbral area: Bug Dance, for example, uses sandpaper blocks, shakers, drums and guiros to create a teeming, multilayered soundscape of scratchy noises. Dream Dance is suspended and hazy, War Dance is martial and jittery, and the opening movement, One-Legged Dance, has a delightful off-kilter quality.
On first listen, the dry metallic and wooden sounds of Design and Construction certainly recall some sounds in Dancing, and the pieces do share a generally propulsive momentum. But Design and Construction (scored for the excellent ensemble of sax, trumpet and percussion) is lither and more precise than the earlier work. It is music stripped down to essentials, intensely focused on a carefully chosen set of timbral, rhythmic and harmonic materials. Though there is a great deal of contrast built into the piece, the music is always disciplined and tightly constructed.Read more ›
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