Larry Polansky - Change
Virtuoso microtonal experiments
Change is a truly unique collection of experimental pieces by Larry Polansky, UC Santa Cruz professor of music, and founder of the independent composers' collective Frog Peak. Released by criminally under-appreciated Bay Area experimental label Artifact Recordings in 2002, the album is an exploration of microtonality, computer-enabled composition, and other non-standard approaches.
Over the course of Change's eight tracks, expect plaintive gamelan, harrowing vocal clouds, and sample-based computer music, sitting in jarring juxtaposition. The virtuosity of Polansky's performers is clearly evident, but the entirely unusual compositions and ability to pull back mere inches from the precipice of pure novelty is what makes the collection worthwhile. The only misstep is the track "51 Melodies" which seems to be a stochastically-composed dad-rock guitar jam. Luckly, that track's cringe-inducing Guitar Center wankery is more than made up for by the 14 minutes of aching beauty of Piano Study #5 (for Just Fender Rhodes) and the domestic time-dilation of the Three Anna Studies.
Original CDs are scarce, but affordable digis are just a click away on Bandcamp.