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Towards Daybreak


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Audio CD, January 29, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 29, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B00AA9QJ8I
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,865 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Review

Billband is the brainchild of Bill Ryan, the crafty leader of the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble in Allendale, Mich. A few years back their album of Steve Reich's music surprised critics with its vibrancy and polish remarkable, some thought, for a group from the cornfields of Western Michigan. Billband includes some of those musicians while adding a few Bang on a Can veterans (including violinist Todd Reynolds). But more importantly, the new album, Towards Daybreak (released Jan. 29), features Ryan's own compositions. 'Sparkle' floats lightly with a delicate post-minimalist attitude. --NPR Deceptive Cadence

Customer Reviews

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Coombs on February 26, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Bill Ryan is a young, creative and talented director, composer and promoter of new music who - until now - I was not familiar with. As a conductor Bill has commissioned and premiered dozens of works by Evan Ziporyn, David Lang and many more. Ryan has an extended and deserved reputation as a promoter of new music. This album features his own ensemble, "Billband", and gives a very rewarding glimpse into Ryan's style and capabilities as a composer. I found each work in this set very interesting and, frequently, quite pretty. Just the opening work, "Simple Lines" features some captivating cello work and hooks you in. A similar feel exists in "A Simple Place" while a somewhat darker tone is achieved with the bass clarinet infused "Towards Daybreak." Bill Ryan illustrates his creativity and flexibility in scoring for diverse instruments. The tinkling piano and crystalline texture of the aptly titled "Sparkle" is a perfect example; the soprano sax solo that creeps in adds to the mysterious beauty! Another standout for me was the wholly ethereal "Solitude in Transit" with its somewhat film score feel. It is had to categorize the music of Bill Ryan. It contains elements of minimalism, light jazz, new age and "experimental" classical. It may remind some of Harold Budd in places, Brian Eno in others, maybe even a little Tangerine Dream. Most importantly, this is extremely entertaining music. The members of the "Billband" are outstanding musicians and their chemistry is apparent. This ensemble is completely tight and very capable. I recommend this highly and cannot wait to hear more from Bill Ryan!
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By James A. Wasklewicz on June 4, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE CD CAME ON TIME AND IS JUST WHAT I WANTED !!!! I'VE SEEN THE CELLIST BEFORE AND I WANTED TO LISTEN TO HER AGAIN ....REALLY BEAUTIFUL ALBUM !!!
THANK YOU AGAIN !!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nan on August 2, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love this. It has a fresh but classiic groove with just enough funk to make me love it. The sax is great.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Digital Chips on March 4, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Most of the music on this album was commissioned by a dance company, and the works have a certain programmatic quality to them. As with most composer-founded ensembles, the intimate connection between creator and composer works to the music's advantage. These players know Ryan's music -- and it shows in their committed performances.

Ryan's music is somewhat sparse, so how it's performed makes a world of difference. Simple Lines, for example, is a work for two cellos (or in this case, one cello overdubbed) with rather plain melodic lines. But the expressiveness cellist Ashley Bathgate pours into those lines lines make this work a thing of beauty.

Sparkle, as the name implies, is a light, shimmering work. Glockenspiel and piano tinkle away in the upper register while the soprano sax adds a glistening melody.

My favorite track is Blurred, which begins with a simple piano line. The line becomes obscured as it repeats against slightly different versions of itself. Cello and violin lines slide from note to note, further smearing the sound. Overall, a quiet and quite effective work.

Not all the works are slow -- Rapid Assembly is a jazzy little number, and Friction is a bundle of nervous energy -- bot there is a uniformity to the album. Ryan draws on a small group of instruments; piano, violin, cello, percussion, bass clarinet and saxophone. This provides a consistency of timbre to the album.

Listening from start to finish provides a complete aesthetic experience, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The works on this album are, on the whole, quiet and introspective, and deeply emotional. This is quiet time well spent.
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